Gramshree was founded in 1995 by former Chief Minister of Gujarat and a profound women leader Smt. Anandiben Patel along with her daughter Anar patel and Vandana Agrawal. Started with the vision to empower and support women through income generation activities, in last 20 years Gramshree has supported and trained thousands of women to be the catalysts of change in their families and communities ensuring a steady income. With women forming more than 60% of the work force in the handicraft sector, Gramshree has contributed in strengthening the sector through providing nurturing environment to the women. Profits from the sale of products support programs in health, education, personal finance and leadership training.
At present, Gramshree works with more than 2000 women in the slums and lower-income areas of Ahmedabad and the rural regions of Patan, Mehsana, Kutch, Bhavnagar and Bharuch.
All Gramshree women are home-based workers so that they may earn at their convenience from their homes. Today, the organization endeavors to raise the social status of women from disadvantaged backgrounds and artisans through income generation activities, self-help groups, and a number of initiatives focusing on their holistic development.
It also provides women with training in marketable skills such as embroidery, patchwork and cloth painting while providing them with the platform to develop their creativity and self-sufficiency.
Craftroots, an initiative of Gramshree, is a unique platform that showcases and brings into spotlight the best of craftsmanship from India. It aims to empower artisans by connecting them to available resources, tools and network of partner members. Mission of Craftroots is to revive, preserve and share the craft traditions of India and develop a sustainable and scalable model for craft development.
Through 45 wide varieties of craft forms, Craftroots create awareness in market about the skills, time and creativity that artisans invest into their craft. Craftroots connect Artisans, NGOs, Self-Help Groups, Cooperatives, Businesses, Corporations, Design & Management Institutes, Inviduals and Experts such as designers, educators, students, and customers so that they can interrelate in a better and productive way.
Craftroots seek to communicate the fact, how one’s purchasing choices can directly impact the survival of generations old traditions and the livelihoods of thousands of artisans. The “live exhibitions”, retail stores, participation in national and international events, have been successful both in terms of bringing the traditional crafts of Gujarat into spotlight and provide an impetus to the sector.
The core functions at Crafroots are,
Survey and Documentation | Education and Awareness| Design Development | Sales and Marketing | Social Services
To contribute to the preservation, development and promotion of India’s craft, to increase general awareness about the process and culture of various crafts and to co-create an environment to support existence and elevation of traditional crafts and holistic development of craftsmen.
In celebration of the creative process and to revive, sustain and share the craft traditions of Gujarat, India with the world. Our mission is to work with our partner members to develop a sustainable and scalable model for craft development. As there are too many dying crafts in our region, we hope to bring people together and revive our traditional craft eco-system.
We value the deep connection between a craftsman and his/her craft. We believe this connection is part of a universal creative process that is divine. We place the holistic development and happiness of all craftsmen first.
- To provide a platform to strengthen the economic prospects of the artisans of India.
- Expanding and updating the items produced under a craft to meet with the changing market trends and preferences.
- To induce greater revenue generation for the artisans through participation in Craftroots.
- To reduce the gap between the customers and the traditional craftsmen, in terms of constantly changing choices of customers and the efforts and time invested to produce a craft.
- To facilitate direct interaction with the niche customers and artisans alter the attitude and create feedback mechanism directly impacting product quality.
- To assist in strengthening innovation in craft production, designing and marketing processes.
- To provide a fair-trade marketing platform to support and empower artisans from which they can interact with consumers and position their products in a more suitable way for the contemporary market.
- To increase the global awareness about India’s craft and artisans and contribute in celebrating, appreciating and sharing the art with the world.
Former Chief Minister of Gujarat, a visionary leader and an ardent advocate of Women Empowerment. Smt Anandiben has been the key force behind foundation, sustenance and growth of Gramshree and Craftroots. Her vision is to inspire thousands of women and hundreds of craft lovers to come on one platform for the upliftment of entire Craft ecosystem.
With more than 20 years of experience in the field of women empowerment and craft development, Anar Patel is one of the very few successful woman social entrepreneurs in the country. An MBA from Institute of Management, NIRMA University, Anar patel serves on board of many social organisations and NGOs. She is the founder and Managing Trustee of Gramshree, a Founder Member and Trustee of ManavSadhna, an NGO working with more than 8000 street children based at Gandhi Ashram, Ahmedabad and Trustee and mentor for several other NGOs and initiatives focusing on engaging Indian youth in community service such as Sabarmati festival, YUVA Unstoppable, Moved by Love etc.
It was her vision and leadership that Craftroots has been able to establish its identity among top Craft organizations across the country. She is the recipient of the ‘Gujarat Gaurav’ Award for her rehabilitation work in Kutch, Gujarat after the earthquake of 2001 and ‘Sakhi Shakti’ Award for handicraft development with underprivileged women and artisans. She is also honoured with the prestigious ‘All Grassroots Women of the Decade Achievers’ Award for her phenomenal contribution and commitment towards sustaining the lives of more than 8000 street children and providing income generation to more than 2000 women in Ahmedabad by Assocham Ladies League (ALL).
Born in a philanthropic Marwari Business family, Vandana earned an architecture degree from School of Planning and Architecture in Delhi. After a fruitful career as an architect, she decided to shift gears to her true passions: craft, art and service. Vandana has dedicated her life to the empowerment of women and children through art and design. She is one of trustees of Gramshree and is one of the key leaders of the organization as well.
Srijanpal Singh, CEO
A Management graduate from the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad. At IIMA, he was head of the student’s council and was engaged in a variety of social and developmental activities and projects with the Police, local political institutions and MPs, NREGA, Public Distribution System and many youth organizations. He was awarded the IIMA Gold Medal for the Best All-rounder student from the graduating batch of 2009.
He also worked with Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam (from Jul 2009-Dec 2012) in promoting various missions like” What Can I Give”, Energy Independence for the nation, nuclear and space missions, and PURA (Providing Urban Amenities in Rural Areas).
Previously, he has worked in the corporate world as a consultant with the Boston Consulting Group where he worked in close association with the World Food Program on improving governance and transparency in Public Distribution System in Naxal affected areas of Orissa.
From Nov 2011 to Nov 2012, Srijanpal Singh was instrumental in starting a youth movement called “What Can I Give Mission”, which is now a network of over 1,000,000 volunteers from across India, both rural and urban who are working towards a clean green and corruption free India. Srijan was the National Facilitator of the mission.
He recently co-authored a bestselling book with Dr.Kalam titled,“ Target 3 Billion” which is based on sustainable development of the rural areas of the world.
Villooben, Associate, Innovation and R&D
Armed with an education background of Art and Design from Baroda Fine Arts and NID inputs, Villoo Mirza has keen interest in history of art and culture. She served in the development corporation for 12 years as Chief Designer in facilitating artisans to compete with the contemporary markets with design and material innovations. Also, established the National Institute Fashion Technology, NIFT in Gujarat and built up Research and Development section to explore the technology part of apparel industry and jewellery design. She joined as Strategic Consultant in SEWA Trade Facilitation Centre to set up supply chain with the grassroots level rural and urban artisans to create a brand to cater to the contemporary global market.
With her background of creativity, she has served for 30 years as a team leader, an institutional head, and fellow team leader to raise an organization. In the job, she acquired administrative skills and human resource management which has given her the ability to deal and coordinate with grassroots level producers groups, academicians, creative personnel, and bureaucrats. In the area of textiles surface ornamentation, folk crafts and culture she has witnessed the evolving patterns and has contributed tremendously in each of their respected areas.
Villoo Mirza has dedicated her career spanning over three decades working with women and empowering them. Armed with a firm belief that talent needs to be discovered, developed and nurtured, she believes in creativity with cause and works with women to promote it. She runs a creative venture called “Design Deals”. It is an outlet for her innovative mind and allows her to express her ideas. It is also an ethical establishment where Sustainability is a key aspect. She is the head of the conceptualization process for a variety of products made at Design Deals ranging from creative textiles to garments, soft toys to art pieces and jewellery.
Marmik Joshi, Vice President
Hiten Kakadiya, Associate, R&D and Innovation
Hiten completed his architecture from Indubhai Parekh School of Architecture in Rajkot in 2005. Post this he Joined Hoonarshala in Bhuj and worked with local crafts such as wooden carving, metal bells, leather craft and lacquer work. in 2008, he started his own firm Aayam architects. Since then he is practicing vernacular architecture with the help of local artisans. At Craftroots, he looks after research and innovation in non-textile crafts from design studio at Thaltej.
Hemant Kapil, Chief Merchandiser
A NIFT fashion design graduate from batch of 1999, Hemant Kapil has had almost 15 years of design experience, working with top design firms as design head, VM-head (Ensemble, TDPL, ADERSH GILL), garment export (Orient craft) and styling (M magazine) among others. Textile art enthusiast/revivalist, he works in his spare time, on restoring antique textiles especially tapestries. At Craftroots, he looks into merchandizing and curating.
Pratik Patel, Head, Finance, Legal & e-Store
The crafts sector overall stands to benefit from increased participation by different stakeholders in their areas of specialization. Building an ecosystem of collaboration will align the roles of different stakeholders each of whom can support artisans in different ways.
Leading academic institutions such as the National Institute for Fashion Technology have a major role to play in the crafts sector. As warehouses of technical knowledge, they can work closely with artisans to build capacities in a more institutionalized way. In addition, working with students sensitizes them to crafts, deepens their understanding of tradition in a way that they can implement in the mainstream.
This fosters the perseveration of culture by continuously adapting it to modernity. Setting up academies for the crafts will also restore a sense of importance of crafts otherwise excluded from courses offered in academic institutions.
In working to revive and share the richness of our craft traditions, we offer our partner members with resources, tools, and access to our network. Partner members include artisans, NGOs (i.e., collective of artisans), businesses, education institutes, and key individuals such as designers and customers. We connect partner members to each other in a way that benefits the whole craft eco-system and is fair to all involved.
Shroff foundation has been working with us for around 3 years now.
The operative strategy of the Trust is “SahaviryamKarvaVahey”, a Sanskrit phrase broadly translated as“ the joy of togetherness, together we will achieve the best, together we will grow and together we will prosper ”. The strong belief that the liberation of the vulnerable is closely linked to the liberation of the ‘liberator’ is at the heart of this philosophy. In the development lexicon, SFT places utmost emphasis on active community participation as the key for building an empowered community. Shroff Foundation has regularly been a part of Craftroots exhibitions.
Sahaj is a part of an organized social movement that seeks to promote sustainable development of rural & tribal communities. Also, it has helped in the socio economic empowerment of women through art and craft based activities. Sahaj is also a co-partner of Craftroots from the beginning.
Manav Sadhna is the sister organization of Gramshree and Craftroots. It is a non-profit organization based in a quiet corner of Mahatma Gandhi’s Ashram, Ahmedabad. Our mission is simply to serve the underprivileged. At Manav Sadhna, we navigate with the philosophy of love all, serve all. By seeing God in every individual (Manav), mere service is transformed into worship (Sadhna). To this end, Manav Sadhna is engaged in constructive humanitarian projects that cut across barriers of class and religion while addressing issues faced by socio-economically neglected segments of the society.
Khamir is one of our partner organizations from the very beginning.
And has worked to strengthen and promote the rich artisan traditions of Kachchh district. Their name stands for Kachchh Heritage, Art, Music, Information and Resources. Also, Khamir has regularly been a part of Craftroots exhibitions.
Kala Raksha Trust, a grassroots social enterprise, is dedicated to preservation of traditional arts. We envision this broadly, as holistic encouraging of the creative capacity of the artist. Kala Raksha has been associated with us for 9 years.
Shrujan began modestly as a small project sponsored by members of the extended Shroff family.
In 1969, Kutch experienced a particularly severe drought. Chandaben Shroff went there to assist with a famine relief project. During this trip, she realized that the rural women excelled at the local art of embroidery.
Kutch Qasab and crafts preserving art and culture of Kutch. Simultaneously rendering employment to many of women through part time home jobs, and has been one of our partner organizations. Kutch Qasab and Crafts has been working with us since the beginning.
Utthan synonymous with upliftment was established in 1978 under the aegis of a small trust viz. Gujarat Stree Pragati Mandal in Paldi, Ahmedabad. Utthan was given recognition by the Gujarat State Govt. in 1980. Utthan and Craftroots have been associated since the very beginning.
The Pink Foundation is a Non-Governmental Organization (Registration number-E/20638/ Ahmedabad) is run by a group of professionals facilitating community development initiatives. It promotes holistic development of marginalized section of society, by adopting an integrated approach with main emphasis on Four Es: – Entrepreneurship, Employment, Education and Empowerment.