Working to improve the rural society and economy for years, Sumitra Ghose, in 2005, founded rangaSutra that tapped the unexplored talent pool of the Indian rustic artisanry. The revolutionary social venture was started as a collaboration of more than 1,000 artisans, investing INR 1,000 each. Today, this community-owned craft company has more than 2,000 shareholders with a turnover of over 20 crore. The aim of the organisation is to create a just, equitable and inclusive world, where sustainable development, business growth, social inclusion and environmental protection can coexist.
"Our purpose is to ensure sustainable livelihoods for rural artisans. Despite many of them being skilled in handloom weaving, hand embroideries and other traditional skills, there was a significant lack in earning opportunities, especially for women in villages of Western Rajasthan, where I had lived and worked for 10 years, prior to starting rangSutra," reminisces Ghose.
rangSutra’s working model involves training programmes that build craft and managerial capabilities of artisans, both at village and district level. This tiered training has helped representatives manage their village groups more efficiently and has opened the doors for national and global opportunities. The organisation works in close collaboration with FabIndia, a leading Indian chain of store garments and IKEA, a Swedish founded, Dutch multinational conglomerate.
We continue to instil a sense of ownership among the artisans, especially rural women, who form 70% of our member base and enable them to own shares in rangSutra," explains Ghose. The social enterprise has trained and employed 50 women as craft managers.
The organisation, which was started with three clusters, has now grown to 35 groups of artisans across five states in India and has trained and employed 50 women as craft managers.
"rangSutra, through its products, aims to make its customers appreciate and understand the value of hand-crafted products that are made ethically, with considerable care for the environment. It is a way to show how one can enable change and development to make the world a more humane place for all," concludes Ghose.