Uthhan: Connecting profits with artisans
New Delhi, Sept 24 (KNN) It has been observed that value of an artisan product depends on the way of presentation apart from quality. As an effort to overcome this obstacle the products will be displayed in our online platform for sales, where profit from artefact sales goes directly to the artisans families without any middlemen. Handicraft sector is the second largest and it is next to agriculture sector in creating employment and livelihood opportunities in rural India.
However over the years, these traditional art forms and handicraft lost their demand in the market. The irony is that artisans have took up alternative means to support their families.
Artisans are underprivileged in India and there are many challenges faced by them. Their ignorance about the emerging ways of online marketing added to their misery. Majority of skilled artisans stopped making unique products, which was a source of livelihood for them in the past.
Biju’s family is one of them
Although having hearing and speech impairment, he refused to bow down to his physical limitations and says that the passion for the craft motivates him to continue working with much enthusiasm. He and his family shown us multiple models of pen stands, cutlery, kettle and showpieces made up of coconut shells. However the low demand for handicraft and financial constraints pushed Biju to take up work as a daily wage laborer.
Biju is not alone in his struggle. During the visit we were shocked to see the poverty and the dire conditions of artisans across Indian states. Their talent and business is deteriorating. They don’t have a market to showcase their products. The benefits from the sale of their crafts is reaped by the middle men.
“We wanted to do something which could benefit the larger masses and wanted the products to create a sustainable impact and created UTHHAN web application in 2012, which showcased artisan products without any charges. The products created an amazing global reach. Popularity of UTHHAN among artisans increased within a small span of time. The major challenge was to create awareness about UTHHAN among artisans. It was a herculean task to make them understand the process, since it was online.
Many of the families were unaware of operating a mobile phone. We trained them and slogged for almost 1.5 years to gain the trust from initial batch of artisans. We understood deeply about the process and created a multi-language mobile application for artisans in 2017”, told by Leemon Ravi (Founder and National Coordinator, UTHHAN)
“A total of 10000+ families are a part of this initiative across India as of now.We are aiming to reach 50000+ families and support artisan community, which is the third largest population in India.UTHHAN enables them to get the end user to pay the exact value for their art”, said Chytra Rai (Branding and Awareness Head, UTHHAN).
For more about Uthhan initiative, visit www.uthhan.org