Since its inception, Women on Wings is a strong promotor of partnerships to realize increased social impact. Two of Women on Wings’ business partners are now taking collaboration to a next level. Recently, Richa Saxena travelled from Lucknow to the Himalayan foothills to learn from Kumaun Grameen Udyog’s team about weaving techniques and how to work in both a centralized and decentralized model.
Empowering rural communities
Richa Saxena is founder of Shree Panchamdas Organic Khadi Gramodhyog Seva Samiti (SPOKSS) which makes organic cotton handmade fabric, which is sold under the brand name of KOSH – the treasure of khadi. Richa is a young social entrepreneur from outside the sector, but with a passion to bring about change with a strong focus on women empowerment. Anurag Chatrath is managing director at Kumaun Grameen Udyog’s (KGU) which provides income to the rural families it is involved with in the lower foothills of the Himalayas. KGU products are sold under its brand name Kilmora, which include food items like jams and chutneys, but also hand knitted and hand woven textiles. Textiles was the common ground for SPOKSS and KGU to come together.
Investing in new learnings
Women on Wings brings together its business partners in CEO Summits with the aim to share experiences among peers. More and more, the business partners find each other also to create synergies and share markets, technical and operational solutions. Last March, Richa Saxena travelled to Kumaun to learn many things related to fabrics and weaving from KGU’s team and the artisans. Richa: “We really liked travelling to the hills. We learned how to mix different fiber threads in wrap and weft to create a new and strong blend. How to create different designs which do not require use of jacquard machinery on loom. How to use pedal looms instead of pit looms. Where we work, only pit looms are available. KGU was also able to show the use of a natural washing detergent made from Reetha or soap nut, used in the washing process.”
Continue learnings and collaboration
Since partnership is a two way journey, Richa and her team shall be sharing their knowledge with Anurag and his KGU team. Anurag: “We look forward to our next session and learn about the complete establishment of pigmentation and dye extract, and of the dying process of cold dye, how to do yarn dye as well as wax printing. These new techniques will enable us at KGU to create many new designs. Our artisans are already very excited.”
The two Women on Wings business partners are open for further collaboration of techniques and designs as well as for collaboration in markets. Their joint forces will contribute to improving the livelihoods of rural women connected to the social enterprises and ultimately engage more artisans.