Founded in 2015, Mura Collective Textiles & Crafts is synonymous with the textile craft Shibori, a Japanese manual tie-dyeing technique, which produces a number of different patterns on fabric. The social enterprise and Women on Wings have entered into a partnership that aims at improving livelihoods and co-creating extra jobs for women in rural India.
Crafting for change
After nearly 15 years of working towards perfecting the technique of Shibori, dyeing with natural dyes, weaving and other textile processes, sisters Kusum Tiwari and Prabha Gahtori set up the company Mura Collective Textiles & Crafts Pvt. Ltd. (Mura Collective) to formally use their skills and expertise to generate livelihoods in Uttarakhand, where they belong. Mura Collective endeavors to create a craft-based ecosystem that allows all-comers to contribute according to their capabilities and supports them according to their needs. Prabha, a journalist and artist, and Kusum, an IT professional, had always had a keen interest in textile crafts. A chance encounter with design gurus Toofan Rafai and Dashrath Patel of National Institute of Design got them hooked on natural dyes. Thus began a journey of over two decades of exploration which ultimately resulted in the establishment of Mura Collective in 2015 as part of a broader mission to use craft as a vehicle for radical change.
Work from home
In the urban village neighborhood of Neb Sarai, New Delhi, for the past two decades, Mura Collective has been a crucial source of supplementary income to a generation of women, many of whom still lack the agency to leave their homes lest they forsake their household responsibilities. The extensive hand-crafted Shibori process allows for flexible and favorable work conditions where the artisans are able to work from home, at a time and pace that suits them.
Next step for Mura Collective is the attempt to facilitate the setting up of a sustainable craft ecosystem, where all stakeholders are in a win-win relationship with each other. At the heart of the ecosystem, will be the craft campus facilitating skilling, commerce, design and quality of output. The year 2021 offered the founders to start the transition. Women on Wings and Mura Collectives are joining hands in developing a sound business model to support the social enterprise in realizing its ambition and jointly improve livelihoods and increase job opportunities for women in rural India.
Photo | Kusum (center) and two team members at the Mura Collective unit, taken by Women on Wings during a field visit earlier in 2022