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The month of July ushers in the rainy season or monsoon in India. Monsoon is the harbinger of rains that sustain the agriculture in the country. A country that continues to be dependent on rains for agriculture, too much of it is also a bain. As this edition goes out, the eastern states of the country battle a grim flood situation that has impacted several thousands. We are extremely concerned for our artisans and producers, who are mostly based in the villages, in districts that have been witnessing the rain’s fury. As the sun comes out, we do hope earnestly that the conditions improve and fast.
This month, two workshops were organized with groups that work with recycled kantha. The focus of the workshops were addressing quality issues, developing a quality checklist and introducing new groups to the requirements of quality and timely delivery. The sessions with the new groups also covered systems and minimum fair Trade requirements. Producers managed to attend the workshop despite torrential rains. A total of fourteen groups participated, along with the SSA team, textile coordinator and operation manager. A follow up of the same shall be conducted in six months time.
A partnership was initiated with Jadavpur University, Kolkata on technical assistance for seasoning of wood. A presentation cum demonstration was given on 25th July, 2015 where the findings and methodology were shared by the team working on the seasoning technique. Outcome of the 6 months long experiments is that the texture, permeability & tolerance level of wood depends on temperature, humidity & weather of the production areas. As per the researchers, raw materials need to be heated to a certain degree and at certain intervals to come to the required condition of seasoning. Since our producers work on very small scales, it is difficult for them to organize elaborate, seasoning techniques. This research, if successfully, taken from the lab to the units can resolve a lot of quality issues arising from the moisture in the wood. The next step is to take the methodology to the units and demonstrate. Simultaneously, one needs to identify a source of designing a low cost seasoning apparatus to be installed at the units.
A four week workshop on Pattern making also commenced in July with 2 Kolkata based garments groups and the Garments coordinator. This workshop is being conducted to upgrade the pattern making skills in the groups and within Sasha, to match with the latest styles and quality demanded by our buyers. The consultant has prepared a curriculum that shall help her to provide inputs that can be practically implemented by the participants in their normal course of work. This will be continued in various intervals, so that groups as well as the Sasha inhouse capacity is built and is at par with the buyer’s expectations.
Under SSA’s scheduled intervention, a workshop on gender awareness was organized at UGLSN with the women artisans who are closely working with SASHA textile unit under UGLSN. With different awareness activities and IEC materials, initiatives were taken to make them aware on their rights and their position in the family as well as in the society. Stereotype ideas on priority of male in the family and the society, misconceptions mainly lead the issues on gender gap in the surroundings. Most of them are secondary income holder of their families. They actively take part in decision making in their families. They are against child marriage. They also emphasized on importance of girls education. They are also alert on the significance of equal rights and opportunity of the women in the society.
The Sasha shop offered customers special gift offers this monsoon. An array of products were specially selected and put on display. Amongst the regular offering at the Shop, there were personal accessories like scarves and bags, decorative hangings and toys, jewelry, paper products, baskets, natural body care products and so on.
We are extremely pleased to announce our Annual producer Group meeting in August. More on the meeting in the next edition.