Artisans around the country face economic crisis
In a world of technologies, where machine learning and Artificial Intelligence is taking over manufacturing, handmade products are still valued in India. The influx of tech startups to empower local artisans, the Indian handicraft industry exported products worth over ₹128 billion. 'Made in India' became a conversation term to be thrown around in common expression.
But since January 2020, COVID-19 gripped every country in the world one after the other. While in India millions have been locked out of their livelihoods. The novel corona virus has affected different sections of society differently. One such sector that is taken by storm is our handicraft industry
As per an initial estimate by the Export Promotion Council for Handicrafts (EPCH) the handicraft sector has suffer a loss of crores in the wake of the pandemic.
This calls for a critical examination of how the corona virus pandemic impacts the local artisans, how fractured supply chains and crippled markets decrease their earnings, how are they evolving to meet new challenges, and how e-commerce platforms can be utilize more to boost sales of handicraft items.
Most artisans hail from rural India and work in an informal and precarious setup. Honoring their culture and traditions, they create masterpieces that are exported worldwide. Yet, their wages come nowhere close to the income that can provide them with social security. Survival among the COVID-19 pandemic has been nothing less than a impoverished hellscape for the artisans who are left on the breadline with diminishing resources and a bleak future
Amid the COVID-19 lockdown, work from home has become the new normal for professionals around the world as travel and tourism sector in the city has taken a crippling blow due to the onset of COVID-19 disease.
But for artisans, it has always been work from home as most of them are based in their native villages creating sarees, shawls, bed sheets, jewellery and other handloom and handicraft pieces. But they are struggling to navigate the damaged distribution chains. This explains how the artisans in this community are hit by an unpleasant effect of shortage of raw material.
Kraftlo’s response to COVID-19 safety
As the world responds to the outbreak of COVID-19, our thoughts are with the people affected and the medical professionals working around the clock to help those most in need. At Kraftlo, we are working to do our part by ensuring the safety of our employees, striving to protect the health and well-being of our customers and staff. We are investing our efforts and money on COVID-related initiatives to get products to customers and keep employees safe. This includes COVID-19 safety measures such as personal protective equipment, enhanced cleaning of our facilities, processes that allow for effective social distancing.
We are conducting temperature checks in all of our warehouses, testing all our employees daily. If people have a fever, we’ll ask them to go home and return to work when they are perfect to work.
Hundreds of masks have been distributed across our network. They are available to all Kraftlo associates, delivery service partners, seasonal employees. An important safety step to be taken is regular testing of all employees for COVID-19, including those without symptoms
We have increased the frequency and intensity of cleaning at all sites, including regular sanitization of door handles, handrails, touch screens, scanners, and other frequently touched areas. We are implementing disinfectant spraying across our network, a practice commonly used by hospitals and airlines, to supplement the enhanced cleaning measures already in place.
We require everyone to wash their hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after using the bathroom and before eating, as well as after blowing their nose, coughing, or sneezing. If soap and water are not readily available, alcohol-based hand sanitizer stations are easily accessible throughout our buildings.
We've adjusted our practices so fulfilment centre employees can practice social distancing in the following ways:
- We've eliminated stand-up meetings during shifts in favour of new communication methods like signboards and text messages.
- We've adjusted break room tables and microwaves so employees can eat and relax with new parameters in mind.
- We've taken steps to reduce congestion by adjusting the way teams clock in and out, stopping post-shift security screenings, and staggering shift start times and break times.
- We've adjusted our hiring process to encourage social distancing and moved many activities online.
STORIES OF ARTISANS
KANCHANA –Rajasthani pillow covers and other decorative items made of rugs.
An artist with a talent of vibrant patchwork quilt highlighting a multitude of hues and shades of connotation. She got this skill from her roots.
She was born and bought up in Madhya Pradesh, India,
Needless to say, her childhood was not easy and got married in her early days. But her passion and love for work did not stopped her. Her husband was also not stable with his incomes, therefore, both decided to start working.
Kanchana’s strong will to experiment, produce new designs, scour old patterns to be reproduced is truly laudable.
She is working with KRAFTLO as well as our other groups, and growing immensely with her full efforts, Also educating her son in and English Medium School.
He once said “I don’t think crafts are niche, I think our reach is not big enough. A platform like KRAFTLO is amazing to broaden that reach.” – Vishal
An artist who is patinate and have good hands on Wooden products.
When Vishal had started off he faced a number of problems. He got very few orders and struggled to find new markets. He used to supply to only 1-2 people and that too very less volume.
Then he came across KRAFTLO on social media and contacted us.
He found working with KRAFTLO very different: “We (the suppliers) are patients and KRAFTLO is our doctor.” He feels he is treated very differently; other buyers simply ignore the difficulties faced by artisans.
Vishal has benefitted from capacity building programs conducted by Asha Handicrafts where he learned about quality control and product development.