Virtual handicraft mela saving grace for artisans, weavers during COVID-19 pandemic
As everything has been shifted online, then how our fests could be left behind.With the e-commerce giants organising virtual handicraft for their customers, many artisans and weavers across the country are getting the indispensable platform to showcase their designs and also earn their livelihood.
Fair trade export group, Usha Exim Pvt Ltd,is hopeful that such virtual mediums will provide aid in the revival of the businesses of these artisans and weavers, whose income have shrunk and they are going through economic hardships because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. With no orders, and massive stockpiles of inventory, their livelihoods have come to a standstill.
Mr. Leo Shastri, Director ofUsha Exim Pvt Ltd says the handicraft market is already showing signs of revival after suffering disruption for several months due to the COVID- 19 lockdown. He said the new fads like handicraft mela and people’s increased awareness towards handmade products will give them the requisite rebound from the economic disruption caused by COVID-19.
“Such initiatives are generating consumer demand for arts and crafts that reflect the cultural heritage of the country. Virtual handicraft mela are helping the artisans & weavers in earning their livelihood. Handicraft industry has been one of the poorly hit industries during the pandemic as the underprivileged artisans and weavers had no employment opportunity all these while. Indian handicraft industry had been generating impressive revenues over the last few decades with the overgrowing demand of their products not only in domestic locations but also internationally. It was a major contributor to India’s exports. Earlier, many artisans used to sell their work at trade fairs and bazaars,” said Mr. Leo Shastri.
Usha Exim Pvt Ltd, a fair trade export company of multiple products, also provides a helping hand to their artisans and weavers. They promoted the health & well being of artisans and their family by providing monthly health check-up at their private clinic besides providing them monthly allowance. They have also made their women artisans aatmanirbhar and skilled them to earn their livelihood in such unprecedented times. Their women artisans made masks with the leftover soft fabrics. Usha Exim Pvt Ltd also launched secondary schools in the far-flung areas of Uttar Pradesh to provide free education to the girl children of the weavers.
“We are committed to equity, fairness, justice and accountability towards all our stakeholders including our workers, artisans / producers as well as buyers. In token of this commitment, we have irrevocably pledged 5% of its profits donated to World Family Forum. It is our responsibility and duty to protect our work family. We never shy away from educating them and making necessary amends to protect them from health issues especially when the nation is going through a pandemic,” Mr. Leo added.
It has been seen that many e-commerce companies are collaborating with local artisans and weavers so that MSMEs, artisans, weavers, rural entrepreneurs, women entrepreneurs and other under-served communities continue to have an enriching seller experience across their various initiatives. They are generating livelihood opportunities for the handlooms and handicraft sectors and also uplifting the economic conditions of this fraternity.