Avani works with over 1,100 artisans in 101 villages of two districts. What starts as a training process becomes the way of life for the people who end up being closely associated with Avani.
Rashmi and Rajnish Jain left Delhi and shifted to Kumaon, Uttarakhand, to live an alternate lifestyle, far from the daily hustle of the city.
The beauty of Kumaon lured them to come here. The desire to improve the livelihood options and the quality of life for the Himayalan people made them to start work in weaving and textile.
It all started when the Jain couple intervened to install solar energy in the houses of a village in the region. They realised that to sustain the model, the people needed a source of income, as they did not have the means to pay even the minimum amount of Rs. 30 for the lamps. So they introduced spinning and later expanded to weaving.
What started as a means to provide a small source of income in two villages soon became a movement where the products by the Kumaon community became a brand. Today, Avani works with over 1,100 artisans in 101 villages of two districts.
The local products by the artisans of Kumaon are sold not only in domestic markets but also globally in countries including Japan and the US. The shawls, sarees, toys, home furnishings and many more products are beautifully made by the artisans, a majority of whom are women. By conducting various exhibitions and online sales, Rashmi and Rajnish are taking their art to diverse places.
Deepa Bhauryal, once a shy girl, joined Avani, a voluntary organization that promotes local weavers, when she was just 18. Today, she has transformed into an excellent weaver and works at a managerial level where she supervises other weavers at Avani.
Bhauryal is one of the many lives that have been touched by Avani through its various programmes focused on bringing sustainable development in the lives of the people of Kumaon by reviving the beautiful art of weaving.
What starts as a training process becomes the way of life for the people who end up being closely associated with Avani and the work they do. But everything was not as easy as it seems now. The couple had to face their own challenges to establish themselves and build trust among the people.
But with continuous efforts and persistence, they not only managed to bring people together but also helped them to earn a stable income. There is a lot of migration in these areas. In some villages, there are hardly any young men. So their focus is on women and the elderly who are staying there.
The couple, who lives among the villagers and knows their needs, are happy to see the positive change and the impact Avani has created.
• The marriage age of girls is delayed upto ten years as they now have a job and a purpose.
• Not only young girls, widows and abandoned women also got a regular source of income.
• The standard of their lives has been improved.
• They are now able to pay their children’s school fees and have become more confident.
In the future, Rashmi plans to expand the area of work, involve more people, manufacture more products and reach out to more people. They plan to engage over 4,000 farmers in the next couple of years through more products and opportunities.