This handicraft store is empowering women artisans in Patna


Launched in October 2015 by Neha Singh, Artisans’ Gallery provides employment to around 15-18 women in Patna

‘In order to empower women, they should be first made self-reliant’. This is what Neha Singh, who runs a handwoven and handicraft retail store for women apparel and accessories,  ‘Artisans’ Gallery‘ in Patna, believes.

Registered under MSME, Artisans’ Gallery is a house of hand-woven and handmade stuff launched by Neha, to promote weavers and empower women. It produces ready to wear handcrafted women apparel like sarees, shift dresses, kurtis, tops, stoles, dupattas, etc. and accessories like earrings and neckpieces made of Tussar silk, Chanderi cloth materials and others. One can also find Handwoven fabric – silk, linen, cotton – suitable for garment industry & home decor at the Artisans Gallery.

Artisans Gallery was formally launched in October 2015 under the ‘Guni Bahu’ project of SSROH (Sun Shine – A Ray of Hope) – a national level NGO – with an aim to provide employment to women who have skills but lack opportunity to use it.

 

More about Artisans’ Gallery

Located in Chandra Complex, Saguna More on Khagaul Road, Artisans Gallery holds ISO certification and has also received its barcode recently, which entitles the store to cater to global market.

“The products of Artisans Gallery are made by collecting raw material from all over the country. We collect silk, linen and cotton from weavers across the country, who are also promoted by SSROH. Our store also specialises in hand-block print, applique, sujni, khatwa, madhubani paintings on them,” shares Neha.

At present, around 15-18 women are employed at Artisans Gallery and Neha is quite happy with the progress it has made in such a short span of time.

Neha (centre) and her team during a workshop organised by SSROH in Pune

Neha’s journey into social work

“Being an army officer’s wife, it would have been easy for me to join any school as a teacher, but I never preferred those options, as I wanted to do something for the society,” Neha, who is also a mother of twins, says.

Driven by her determination to help others and serve the society, Neha started Sunshine-A Ray of Hope (SSROH) in 2011 along with nine other people from seven different states of India. SSROH is registered as non-government organisation under Societies Registration XXI, 1860 at Delhi and is functional in Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Delhi and Uttarkhand.

The seven goals of SSROH are, to eradicate poverty and hunger, provisions of universal education, promote gender equality and empower women, reduce child mortality rate and maternal health, work for environment sustainability, combat communicable disease like HIV, Aids, Hepatitis B, Cholera, malaria and other such disease, global partner in development of society.

Project ‘Guni Bahu’ was conceived and launched on June15, 2011 by SSROH to uplift the social status of women by making them self-reliant. Under this nationwide project, women from poor families were provided training in tailoring, pickle making, dal badi making, bag making and beautification.

The motive behind launching Artisans’ Gallery

Under the SSROH’s Guni Bahu project, Neha started tailoring training camps for women in Patna in four places in 2011. The camps were organised at Danapur, Kankarbagh, Ashok Nagar and Patliputra Colony.

“A professional tailor was hired to give tailoring classes to the women.  We took a minimal fee of Rs 50 from each woman because anything given for free is not valued much,” said Neha.

Though the women had acquired tailoring skills from the training camps, they lacked opportunity to use it.  “Some of the women started taking up some stitching jobs in their neighbourhood but they didn’t get much work and so the problem of unemployment continued,” added Neha.

It was then that Neha decided to do something to give employment for these women, and thus she started the Artisans’ Gallery.

“Financially we are not very stable now, but hope things will improve with time. Artisans’ Gallery doesn’t aim at making huge money, we just want to keep it moving to help the women associated with it,” said Neha. The 41 year-old has her family’s full support in her social work.

 

Neha’s role does not end here

Under SSROH, Neha, who is also a graphologist, also give personal grooming and personality development classes to anyone who approaches them.

Interestingly, SSROH members welcome anyone who wants their help in personality development; they can be reached at 06115-222040.

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