Golden Weavers’ Project
Interlacing the hopes of spinners & weavers
The Golden Weavers’ Project is the flagship program of Grameen Sahara. It is basically supporting Eri-based livelihood amongst the poor women by promoting people’s institutes around a producer value-chain and facilitating them with techno-managerial inputs, financial intermediation and market intervention.
Eri-culture is in age old agro-based small scale industry in the NE region of India.It involves maintenance/sourcing of food plants, rearing of eri silkworm, spinning of cocoon shells and weaving of endi clothes. Traditionally women have been predominant in rearing and weaving of eri raw silk and endi textiles. It assures a definite return with very little capital investment. Hence it helps to come out of acute poverty and and render these women economic stability and more social empowerment.
In Assam, Bijoynagar-Chhaygaon area of Kamrup District is well-known for ericulture and its business. But the spinners and weavers are hamstrung with manual processing, exploitation of unscrupulous traders while buying cocoons and selling the end-products. The way of dealing is still unorganized and devious; that fetches a high value to the traders and narrow margin of the poor women. The government programs on ericulture also have the low impact over the rural mass since many of these approaches tend to be top down and lack an effective process of community learning and empowerment. It is in this context, Grameen Sahara intervened into this area with the ‘Golden Weavers’ Project’ in February 2007; and gradually it turns into a program with all institutional features. The approach is people oriented designed to be participatory with emphasis on self-sustainability.
The program was initially supported by the Sir Dorabji Tata Trust (SDTT) and further geared up with the collaboration of the Central Silk Board (CSB), Silk Mark Organization of India (SMOI), NABARD, NEDFi, SIDBI, Eco Tasar Silk Pvt. Ltd. etc.
- Eri comes mostly in natural colours-creamy or brick red. No need to dye its yarn or cloths.
- These silks are user friendly and healthy as it has the texture of natural silk, thermal quality of wool and feel of cotton.
- All production processes are eco-friendly and do not at any stage produce chemical effluents;
All the activities of the program are interlinked and operated in a synergy that benefits thousands of poor women. Grameen Sahara facilitates the program by organizing the spinners and weavers, supplying them with cocoon on credit, channelizing the spinning machines at subsidized cost from the Govt. Agencies, building the capacity of the women for mechanization and marketing, exploring markets and linking therein. Apart from increasing household income, there comes up several features of positive development eg. quality consciousness, enhanced productivity, organized production action, the tendency of people for full time engagement on the activity etc.
As a way forward to further the cause of the program, the process of transforming the entity from project mode to the independent Producer Company (Indian Companies- Amendment Act 2002) is under process.
In due course of time the Golden Weavers’ Project has transformed into a community owned institution and the result is the registration of a new Producers’ company by the name of Grameen Silk Producer Co. Ltd and it has evolved as a producer owned institution entirely run by the spinner producer under the aegis of Grameen Sahara, supported by Sir. Dorabji Tata Trust (SDTT), Mumbai with the objective of organizing the Eri sub-sector with special emphasize on the women yarn producers who are poor and disadvantaged as well as giving higher benefit to its shareholders. The company has stepped in the third year since commencement and has been running successfully. Currently the company has 600 numbers of shareholders.