Handmade hangings, toys and accessories
Prachesta is a society run entirely by women. They make decorative hangings, key chains, pen pouches, pens, hair clips and bands as well as stuffed cotton items like cushions and children’s accessories. Production is done almost completely by hand, though they do have three or four pedal sewing machines to help.
They work closely with Sasha for new product designs. Members have participated in a number of training sessions and product development workshops facilitated by Sasha. This has helped them create new designs and diversify their product range as well as extending their skills.
The founder of this Society started the work as a proprietorship. She took on many needy women to help with the work and it grew into a small-scale unit. She converted it into a society so that the women working there may enjoy ownership and a sense of responsibility towards others.
A safe space for women to work
The Society has created a safe workspace for the women. Indeed, it has made a positive social impact by providing direct and indirect livelihoods for 80 families. They all come from families living below the poverty line and the income enables them to support their families. The group’s workforce includes around 45 regulars and another 40-45 part-timers. Insurance and medical benefits are also provided to the core artisans.
The income also enables the women to provide a better education for their children and they are able to save some of their earnings in a short term deposit scheme that benefits them in times of emergency.
Baruipur Salepur Prachesta Samity (its full name) started seven years ago at Salepur, Baruipur located south of Kolkata, in West Bengal.
Presently the unit only caters to Sasha’s requirements, mainly for exports with some sales in the domestic market through Sasha’s Shop, and exhibitions.