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focus on artisan >> Amina from Tatulia

 

Background

Amina, a shy young woman once overcame her hesitation and dropped in at the local community office on the insistence of some of the members (where an eminent social activist used to encourage women to do Kantha embroidery and market them to the discerning buyers in the northern countries). Amina Bibi was already a skilled craftswoman and had an eye for patterns & colours; her work impressed the social activist Maitreyi Bose, Shubashini Kohli and Roopa Mehta (the latter two of Sasha). Subsequently she did another sample that was approved and continued producing a piece or two in the next one year and Sasha deciding to buy all the Kantha that was made by Amina. And so began Aamina's association with Sasha.

After this initial association with Sasha, it was decided that Amina would involve some more women and it was their work with Ms. Swagata Ghosh that brought them direct work. She would also impart some initial & basic training that was required to handle export orders. Ms. Ghosh suggested that they register as a society. The organization Tantulia Kantha Centre was established in the year of 1995, with the aim to provide a regular income to the women of the marginalized income group. They have their own governing body with President, Vice President, and Secretary. The organization comes together every six months to organize meetings and discuss problems and issues and try to solve it. But they are coping rapidly with a small schooling in embroidery. Amina herself being trained also looks after the operations and management of the group able supported by Monirul who is an expert in keeping accounts.

The success story

The organization has a direct linkage with Sasha for Marketing. Sasha also provides design and other relevant support to the Group. As a result the organization has a number of buyers in both the domestic as well as in the foreign market. The turnover has steadily grown and that is remarkable considering the remoteness of their location and the conservative backgrounds of the women involved.. Amina has represented the organization's work in various international & national exhibitions and Trade-Fairs through Sasha.

The group of women has overcome many a hurdle- financial, social & geographical to ensure a steady and regular source of income for themselves and their families. Sasha has recently supported them with funds to build a workshed including storage for expensive silks that would help them to have a proper working space during the hot summer months and the heavy monsoon. If we consider the poor condition of roads, lack of electricity, social constraints; whatever the women do has been an achievement. The women come and sit together to work in groups, and is happy with the remuneration that is assured to them.