Back in July, readers of this blog were introduced to Himalayan Naari, a group of about 100 fiber artisans working in Munsiyari and Chaukori, remote mountain villages in the Indian state of Uttarakhand. An affiliate of Himalayan Education Foundation (HEF), Himalayan Naari recently used funding from India Development Service to design and develop their new website.
Having the new website up by the end of 2016 was one of Himalayan Naari’s goals. Here are a few more of the group’s achievements this past year:
- The artisans met their deadline and completed 150 items (valued at $3,200) for Himalayan Naari’s first large custom order; the work was shipped to Tennessee and received in time for the fall sales season.
- Custom-designed knitted couch throws (these might also be worn as shawls) were developed in collaboration with Shared Trade, Himalayan Naari’s major customer. Fifteen throws were completed and shipped in time for the holiday season.
- The new Bala Picnic Blanket is the result of product development efforts in the village of Bala. This woven blanket, in a bold plaid pattern, is expected to appeal to the U.S. consumer.
In addition to supporting the design and implementation of the new website, IDS funding was used to pay the salaries of two local coordinators. (In the coming months, duties of the individual coordinator in Chaukori will be taken over by a six-member leadership team, and the salary will be divided among the six. The team will be responsible for wool purchasing, quality, shipping, and finances.) IDS funds were also used to purchase a camera for the Munsiyari group (to be used for product photography) and an inverter to boost their internet capacity.