The impact of industrialisation has exposed them to the fast pace of life, music and fashion. It has also got them miles away from their traditional practice of wearing and making bead jewellery. Only a handful find the mention of beaded jewellery exciting and relatable.
To fulfil the needs and wants, many would push them to work as daily wage labourers- Some in nearby towns while others in the adjoining states(Gujarat).
Project homecoming was a part of World Bank initiative wherein we envisioned for the women of the village to be entrepreneurs who could then choose to stay back at home, look after their children and families while also developing fine beaded jewels.
The design were divided in categories:
A: Designs that were not specific to the skillset of the area and were generic in approach to encourage new women to join the skill.
B: For women who were semi skilled but were not neat with their approach. Smaller designs that could be achieved with 2- 3 steps of learning were a solution to this. We would push them to practice it with finesse, ensuring quality. The designs being a few step process and quick to learn would be easy to achieve and gratifying to try more.
C: Further challenging would be to try intricate and elaborate pieces- for the highly skilled artisans to feel challenged and would keep them ambitious.
As time would pass we would shuffle the women in these categories for peer learning and to feel encouraged to try other complex designs.
There was some resistance to take up the bead work. They found it intense and rigorous to the brain. To penetrate through this mindset and to get them the taste the fruits and advantages on taking up the bead work the solution had to be in simplistic repetitive designs (Modular). Where a single unit is repeated and assembled to achieve the final product. Besides it solved other problems-
The artisans could take a sample basic unit to their home to practice and make it from their home. This was allowed for only few who were not in position to report at the center everyday.
Modular designs made it easy to regulate quality while helping reduce the making time for the product.
The entire process helped us know the skill set and interest of every single artisans. We could assess and appoint artisans for the task they did best be it quality check, beading, administration, book keeping monitoring etc.
A happy and "shy" team