For any nation to grow, the bottom of the pyramid needs to be strong. This is the belief with which Ishanya Foundation has been organising the Yellow Ribbon NGO Fair over the last five years to support non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and self-help groups (SHGs) that are dedicated to support financially challenged or differently abled sections of society.
This year, over 100 NGOs will participate in the fair - with products ranging from hand-made cards, folders, tussar silk sarees, Paithanis to organically made diabetic honey. dna speaks to some of the participants about their products ahead of the exhibition
Yeola Nashik Cluster
Paithani sarees were first made in Paithan, a town in Aurangabad. It was during the reign of the Mughals that artisans migrated to different parts of Maharashtra. During the reign of the Peshwas, the artisans were brought together at Yeola in Nashik district by Nanasaheb Peshwa. Since then, the families settled there have been weaving Paithani sarees as a tradition.
One such weaver is Sanjat Pradhan, who has been carrying on the family legacy of weaving Paithani sarees. “My father used to make Paithani sarees and I learnt the art of weaving from him. Our cluster is supported and funded by the state government for capacity building, marketing, machinery, equipment and spare parts. Initially, only a fixed pattern was available, but today we make it according to customers’ preferences,” Pradhan said, adding that a simple Paithani saree in the range of Rs4,500 requires at least 10 days to complete.
Shodh Samajik Sanstha
Shodh Samajik Sanstha works for betterment of farmers and underprivileged in remote areas. The aim is to get these villagers a decent income through exhibitions and fairs. It also focuses on health aspects of kitchen utensils. Sarika Sawade, president of the organisation, shares, “Our aim is to create awareness about methods that have been ignored under the pretext of modernisation. We take only seven to 10 per cent of the earnings and the rest goes to the artisans directly.”
Thanks to this organisation, artisan Vasant Hanumant Dhotre from Khed has a new lifestyle to boast of today. The organisation has helped him financially by getting him to make miniature grinding stones and parat (used to knead dough). “These products have gone missing from today’s kitchens. They are replaced by mixers and food processors. Our aim is to bring back traditional methods because they are healthier and nutritious. ,” Dhotre said.
Rishikesh SHG, a tussar silk cluster from Bhandara
Women are often seen adorning beautiful tussar silk sarees, but seldom does one realise the pain that goes into making them. Mareshwar Rusil Solkute, founder of Rishikesh SHG, along with his men, understand the pain very well for they carry about the arduous task of hunting cocoons of two varieties – Tussar and Mulberry, from the jungles of Gadchiroli, without which the sarees cannot be made.
The women remove the threads from the cocoons through the reeling machine made in- house, while the men do the weaving work. “My father’s name was Rishikesh and he too was a weaver. After his demise, I had no choice but to discontinue my education and start working in a khadi bhandar to master the art of weaving. After I saved enough money, I left that job and bought myself a reeling machine,” says Solkute.
It takes one week to make a sari with design and colouring while a simple sari takes three days.
Solkute said that he cherishes the opportunity that Yellow Ribbon NGO Fair has given him to showcase, market and sell his products.
The Yellow Ribbon NGO Fair
When: Thursday, (October 17), from 3 pm to 8 pm;
Friday to Sunday (October 18 to 20) from 11 am to 8 pm
Where: Ishanya Mall, Yerawada