WBKVIB (West Bengal Khadi & Village Industries Board) supported the initiative to develop skill, capacity and institutions of Madurkathi artisans, facilitate market linkage in order to augment their earnings and provide machines and infrastructural support in Purba and Paschim Medinipur. Banglanatak dot com, a social enterprise is the implementing partner for this initiative.
Madur weavers are scattered around in different blocks of Purba and Paschim Medinipur. Sabang has the largest concentration of Madur weavers. As part of the project 4432 artists have been covered across 11 blocks of Purba and Paschim Medinipur.
Purba Medinipur : Moyna, Bhagawanpur-I, Potaspur –I, Egra-I, Egra-II, Contai-I, Ramnagar-I, Ramnagar-II
Paschim Medinipur : Pingla, Narayangarh, Sabang
Getting There :
Paschim Medinipur : Reach Balichak by a train from Howrah which takes about 3 hours. Take a car from there to reach the blocks where Madur is made. They fall within a radius of 30km.
Purba Medinipur : Reach Bajkul by a train from Howrah which takes about 3 hours. Take a car from there to reach the blocks where Madur is made. They fall within a radius of 30km.
Accommodation : Hotels are available at Debra, Balichak, Contai and Tamluk. Also, one may stay at the residency set up by the Madur society at Bhagawanpur or the Folk Art Centre of the Chitrataru Patachitra Cluster at Pingla.
Capacity Building :
Capacity building, design development and entrepreneurship training have been undertaken as part of the project across 11 Blocks. Skill development initiatives have addressed dyeing of Madur sticks and making colourful products and mats, new product innovation and fine weaving. Specialists from leading design schools like Indian Institute of Craft Design were involved in design development.
Design & Production Skill development :
- Revitalisation of intricate motifs of mat weaving, variety of stitches, fine weaving.
- Product diversification and making value added utility items.
- Process improvement like dyeing techniques of sticks and thus developing coloured products. The Craft Hubs are now enjoying greater market demand and year round order.
As part of entrepreneur skill building, workshops have been held with leaders of various Madur units at the district and also at Kolkata where leaders of various business houses, banks discussed the challenges and potentials of Madur and the way forward.
Madur artists have participated in fairs and festivals in more than 10 cities around India. As part of the project around 100 artists have got exposure all over India. Gouri Rani Jana of Sabang has participated in the OIMO Festival held at Kyrgyzstan. Participation in exposure visits to various fairs has resulted in improved confidence and self esteem, better understanding of market requirements, including consciousness for quality improvement and new designs.
Artists are equipped with promotional tools like brochures, catalogs, website and e-catalogue.
Linkages have been established with various business houses like Biswa Bangla, Sasha, Jupiter Crafts (Hyderabad) and Slice of Bengal(New Delhi). The artisans have also participated at fairs organised by the Export Promotion Council for Handicrafts.
Institution Building :
2 societies, namely Paschim Medinipur Madur Bayan Shilpi Kalyan Samity and Purba Medinipur Madur Bayan Shilpi Kalyan Samity have been formed as part of the project and the institutions are responsible for overall management of the Madur weavers.
Infrastructure and machines are being provided as part of the project to boost the business of the units.
9 worksheds have been constructed for the units in Paschim Medinipur to create better working conditions for the weavers. One of the buildings has facilities to lodge tourists interested to know more about the craft and lifestyle of the weavers. There are plans of constructing 4 worksheds in Purba Medinipur too.
A total of 20 members from the societies of Purba and Paschim Medinipur were part of an exposure visit to Mumbai and Bangalore. Each member runs a unit with a minimum of 20 workers. The objective was to observe the retails in the segment of lifestyle and home décor in a fast moving market and establish a market for Madur based products in the long run. The Bangalore visit with 10 of the members was from 22- 24 May and the Mumbai visit for the remaining 10 was from 27-29 May, 2018.