The name “Rann Kala” translates to “art of the desert” but to the women of the Kutch district of India it translates to opportunity, empowerment and social advancement.
Rann Kala, one of Global Goods Partners newest Community-Based Organizations, was founded in response to the destruction caused by the 2001 earthquake in Western India. This earthquake damaged an already weak economy in a rural, arid region. Historically, the people of the Kutch region have worked primarily as semi-nomadic cattle herders and subsistence farmers but this way of life has become increasingly difficult to maintain. Many of the men have left this rural region to obtain employment in the cities, leaving the women to look after large families. When you add in the fact that many of the ethnic groups within the Kutch region make up some of the most discriminated against groups in India and that cultural stigma prevents women from leaving the home to look for work, you come to understand just how important an organization like Rann Kala really is!
The beautiful thing about Rann Kala is that it provides women with skills training and product development assistance so that they are able to generate an income. The benefit of this is two-fold: they gain the respect of their family and community based on their ability to provide and they feel empowered travel outside of their homes. The craft production also gives these women the funding to send their children to school.
The process of craft production not only provides a livelihood to a marginalized population, it maintains an age-old art form and gives the world access to the art of batik. Batik is a meticulous fabric-dying technique, which results in intricate, unique prints. Rann Kala, with the help of batik, has made an imprint on the people of the Kutch District.
To learn more: