“We must share the story of Tabassum with you. She was one of the most highly-skilled artisans in Lucknow. She had won state-level awards. When we started training her as part of the first batch of the Sangraha project, she was very overwhelmed. She broke down and started crying. She said she wasn’t capable of conceptualizing designs. ‘I can’t think,’ she said. In those days she used to earn Rs 2,000 to 3,000 a month implementing designs handed to her by designers and master craftsmen. In the last six months alone, she has earned Rs 80,000.”
One can sense the pride in the designer and trainer Jaspal Kalra as he talks about the students at Sangraha Kala Foundation. He launched this project which aimed at empowering women chikankari artisans from Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh by teaching them how to design and make them more aware of marketing and costing.
Tabassum is one of the success stories at Sangraha and there are many more like her, who had never stepped out of their homes before but are now able to sustain themselves and their families. Jaspal Kalra, an academician at NIFT started this pilot project to train these women to become entrepreneurs.
After almost a year, he has instilled in them a sense of confidence and a hope that good things will happen to them. Most of Jaspal’s students are uneducated and were working as domestic helps, earlier. But now, they are participating in exhibitions across the country and even demanding a royalty for their creations.
Uttar Hamara salutes the spirit of these women and thanks Jaspal Kalra for giving them the opportunity.