Natural dyes from the Himalayas create jobs for women

A new natural dyes plant of Women on Wings’ social enterprise partner Avani Earthcraft in the lower Himalayas will bring more opportunities for jobs for women. In a world dominated by chemical dyes this new plant, which will produce three kilos of natural dye a day, is a real unique selling point. Women collect the raw materials for the dyes; plants and flowers that turn into beautiful blue, green, red and yellow tones which grow in abundance in the Kumaon region in the Himalayas.

Mid-September, a team of Women on Wings worked with Avani on how it can get more business out of the new natural dyes plant. Helene van Zutphen, expert at Women on Wings: “We had a three-day workshop with Avani’s founder Rashmi and team members Raju, Rajnish and Prachi. They have a good handicraft business. But they produce and sell more than scarves: natural dyes, soap nuts, toys, etc.. Using the CANVAS business model we specifically identified the market opportunities for their natural dyes, like textile manufacturers.”

Avani was established by founders Rashmi Bharti and Rajnish Jain. Their dream is to leave the earth a little more beautiful than they found it. At their campus in the Himalayas they have a zero waste cycle. Avani was initially founded to provide a small source of income in two mountain villages, selling handcrafted products of local women like scarves and shawls. Today about 1,500 women in more than 60 villages are part of Avani’s Earthcraft cooperative and earn a regular income.