One of our artisan partners in India, Matr Boomie, gave us an opportunity to sponsor a social development project in India, and we jumped at the chance! These projects are part of Matr Boomie’s ongoing commitment to their artisans and to the mission of fair trade. Matr Boomie’s work through projects like this helps build up artisan communities to boost long-term development, giving artisans the opportunity to learn new skills and improve their knowledge, health, and well-being. Fair trade is a holistic system; programs like this showcase what fair trade really looks like in action. We are so proud to work with Matr Boomie in their continued efforts to uplift artisans.
Matr Boomie’s social development projects range from literacy training and eye exams to new skill training or upgrades, depending on the artisans’ needs. Our sponsorship was for a group of women artisans in Bhuj, India who requested to learn the new skill of Batik printing, the art of dying using wax. The women had all worked as Bandhani craftswomen, tie-dying fabric to be used for bags and scarves. The Bandhani field has grown a lot lately and so the competition for that work has risen and the women were finding it hard to make sustainable livelihoods. Matr Boomie accepted the women’s request to learn a new skill and arranged the Batik workshop to teach the women and provide new opportunities for work.
The batik program was held for one month, beginning in mid-July. Eleven women attended. Our sponsorship covered the following:
- Use of a space for the training
- Stipend to cover the women’s costs for the month (so they could afford to not do other work)
- Materials and tools needed for training (fabric, wax, brushes, etc.)
- Cost to hire the trainer
Matr Boomie hired an expert trainer for the program. He first discussed the history and importance of batik printing. The group then learned how to prepare the necessary materials–how to prepare the table and color tray. The women were taught how to hold the brush and needle and how to heat and cool the wax properly. The final step was learning how to fasten the colors by steaming the fabric. The women practiced creating different traditional designs and by the end of the month they had learned the art of Batik!