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Home > Fashion> Trends > A helping hand for weavers during second covid-19 wave

A helping hand for weavers during second covid-19 wave

A growing number of brands and not-for-profits have started online initiatives to help karigars and craftspersons

In the absence of fairs, exhibitions and bazaars, it has become difficult for weavers and artisans to reach customers.
In the absence of fairs, exhibitions and bazaars, it has become difficult for weavers and artisans to reach customers. (Courtesy Raaha)

Social media apps have become useful platforms to raise and amplify requests for donations and relief funds for artisans and weavers. In the absence of fairs, exhibitions and bazaars, it has become difficult for them to reach customers. So, many brands and not-for-profits have started online initiatives to help them.

Social enterprise Raaha, which works with artisans across the country, along with Loom & Hand and Ka-Sha, have established The Artisan Shop, allowing people to directly access online the work of over 18 artisans and weavers, including saris, stoles and dupattas. The buyer pays the artisan directly; there's no middleperson involved. All prices are decided by the artisans. Since starting it a week ago, the online shop has managed $3,500 in sales.

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In Raaha's first fundraiser, the women-led enterprise had raised 3 lakh in three days. "What started as a small effort to support 30 families, led to us getting an overwhelming response from our friends, family and Raaha community. I think being a small team and our habit of being vocal and transparent on social media has helped, we continue to get donors from all over the globe to support our artisans," says Raaha's co-founder Amrita Haldipur, who's based in Mumbai.

Varanasi’s Tilfi sari brand, in association with online donation platform GiveIndia, is using social media to encourage people to contribute to its fund-raiser, which aims to raise 20 lakh by May-end to support the artisans of the city and its neighbouring villages. At the time of writing, it had raised over 17 lakh.

Assam’s women-led Buon platform, which supports women handloom weavers of the state's Nameri region, meanwhile, is giving 30% of the money from sales to non-profit organisation Project Smile’s Mercy Mission to fight the second wave of covid-19 in Bengaluru. Project Smile has also started a fundraiser on Milaap.

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