Thursday 12 April 2012

Finally the work begins...


Kutch Mahila Vikas Sangathan is a collective of rural women from 173 villages of Kutch, striying for their socioeconomic and political empowerment. Of the around 1,200 are traditional craftswomen, who have come together to form self-sustaining producer groups.

They have chosen the word QASAB which means "craft skill" in Kutchi as the brand name for their products. These women entrepreneurs are now channelising their collective strength and assets towards :

Contemporising their design skills : Through workshops with designers & institutions.
Procuring better quality raw material at lower rates.
Marketing their products themselves and meeting and interacting with buyers.
Reclaiming their roles of artisans & producers and reversing the trend of commercial exploitation.

The Qasab product line comprises top quality items featuring authentic Kutchi embroidery and patchwork.
Products are available in the following category :
Art panels : Qasab has started show casing embroideries as art. The distinct embroidery styles of each community are being developed to create exquisite art panels.

Lifestyle product : An array of pouch bags, shoulder bags, dolls, wall hangings and leather bags, frames are available. 

Home furnishing : Qasab has a large selection of bedspreads both single and double, cushion covers, and full size and baby size quilts.

Leather products : They have an exquisite collection of luxury accessories in leather including personal planners, passport and air ticket holders and A4 size portfolios.

Retracing steps...

In order to move on with our blog, we first should be grateful that we even made it to Bhuj! 
Originally we had prepared our suitcases and set ourselves up to get on a train from New Delhi railway station early on monday the 2nd April, what seemed to be an organized plan turned into more of a travel nightmare! Our train was in fact leaving from Old Delhi railway station and with only 15 minutes to spare, we were left in a state of panic knowing we weren't going to be in Bhuj any time soon. The travel agent promised us a train for wednesday...didn't work out. So we ended up on an expensive flight to Ahmedabad late wednesday evening, with added baggage charges.

When we arrived, the air was dry and very hot. Again., we had to rush to the bus station to catch a bus to Bhuj but the auto wala wasn't fast enough...we ended up in a semi-decent hotel for the night, the driver also tripled the cost of our journey, the cherry on top.

Waking up the next morning, our first sight of the Gujarati city, we took a short moment to gaze at a temple nearby and then we started for a ten hours long bus journey. 
When we arrived it was pitch black, we knew no one, we were unsure of how our night could get any more vague! It was us, and a cow. 
Eventually we came to our new home. It was much better than we had imagined. The room was hot, but you can expect that when you are in a desert environment. Tired from the journey, we slept...

Saturday 7 April 2012


Upon arriving in our new home, we met a most welcoming family filled with kindness and care. During the night, a sudden power cut resulted in us realizing the in depth emotions of the people in Bhuj after the earthquake in 2001, and how the people overcome the struggles of restarting a new life.


Before coming to Bhuj, we would see news of natural calamity feeling distant and not connected. But after coming to this area, we heard the sufferings a family had to undergo at the time of the disaster.
At the time of power cut our neighbour along with her family came over to our new flat to make us feel comfortable, a great first impression.
After a while we all started talking about our life experiences which then led to them showing us photos of the destruction and how their family went through such a life changing transformation. One of the family members described the dream she saw the night before the earthquake, she described how she thought that something very bad was going to happen and all the walls would collapse upon them, she warned her family but everybody ignored her thinking that she had just had a bad dream. It turns out that the seven years old girl was right.
Her eldest sister saved the lives of many people and now is honoured by the government for such a noble cause every 26th of January. Her entire family took almost two years to recover with such a grief and return back to a normal life. For months and months they had to live on roads. Now, after ten years they understood that what life means. It led us to think about what we had previously wrote on our presentation about being content with the small things in life.

The powercut was not just an accident, it taught us the strengths of human nature and made us question our outlook on life. 

This blog is dedicated to women around the world who use their hands to create, empower, move and express...