Poulomi Mukherjee Reddy, a woman entrepreneur who believes in empowering Rural India, has created a brand named Rangashay. Under this, she is crafting a success story which many in this space have failed to do so. While still, she chooses to be humble saying, We have a long way to go, here is the success story of Rangashay through Handloom as narrated by her.
Science and Technology is getting dynamic. The developments we saw in this space some decades before are outdated now. Every day we see an advanced version of all these developments that are 1000 times dynamic than the ones developed in the 1960s and 1970s. These developments are spearheaded by young minds in nook and corner of the world. These young minds hail from a humble background and they hardly had exposure to all privileges the young minds in the cities had. Yet, they managed to achieve something big. Therefore, we believed supporting their urge to learn is quite essential and we doing it will add value to our work as well.
So we were on a quest to identify the best of such talents across India. This was at the remotest of all villages in different states in India. Our destination flipped back not only the destiny of those budding achievers but paved a new path for us to explore. The result- Rangashay, a brand nurtured by The Right Science to promote Rural Indian Handlooms.
Well, identifying poor artisans and promoting their exceptional work is not something new. Every now and then in major cities, we see a new boutique or a brand emerging with similar vision and mission. We see NGOs supporting their cause too. But still, these artisans still turn out to be downtrodden. Most importantly, they’re not able to afford basic education for their children and offer all the privileges their urban counterparts get.
Our story begins a village 8 hours away from Asansol in West Bengal. Initially, our motto was to understand the condition of the schools, behaviour and interest of the students, their knowledge levels and a lot of factors pertaining to education. Analyzing all these, we were to offer upbeat science and technology to let them learn and achieve big.
We arrived at the village taking a bus from Asansol. A lot of children aged between 10 and 15 stood near the bus stand and were luring people towards their homes. We simply followed them to see what was actually happening.
Their parents and grandparents are weaving as well as selling handloom cotton sarees. These sarees are handwoven and weaving one takes a lot of time. At the end of the sale, these children get their tip as well which ranges between 20 to 50 rupees. We felt quite disturbed looking at this. Grabbing the children and asking, “Why didn’t you go to school?” But our efforts in doing so will not take us anywhere. At the same time, educating them as well is quite essential.
This demotivated us and for a moment we saw thought we are at the wrong place. But what’s the use in empowering the already self-motivated ones? Shouldn’t we nurture the rest to achieve the same? The first thing we had to do was to help their sell these products so that, they will let their children continue their education.
The handloom products manufactured in this village are of impeccable quality and people in urban clusters love such products. But somehow there is a gap and these pure handloom products are not reaching every urban cluster. We decided to bridge the gap between the urban and rural divide in India and simultaneously nurture learning and development among the young ones.
We approached a group of these weavers and said, “You people give all your products to us. We will sell it on behalf of you in the cities and give you the right product cost to help you pay for your children’s education.”
The response from a majority of them was negative. Luckily, a few were interested in allowing their children to study and that was the birth of Rangashay. Since then we were procuring handloom sarees from these poor weavers and paying them the right cost for their days of efforts by selling these products in niche urban clusters.
Later on, other artisans as well agreed to partner with us and assist their children’s future development.
As on date, Rangashay as a brand has adopted the village and promoting all of its weavers. Apart from all this, we were also assisting their children in learning science and technology. Now, these children are developing automated machines to manage logistics.
The same students, who were luring people to buy and getting tips of 20 to 50 rupees, are now mastering science and technology. Therefore, our vision of imparting education and nurturing achievers is fulfilled through the birth of Rangashay.
Now, we are now exploring into deeper pockets of India and identifying more such villages that deserve this kind of support. Well, not many would’ve thought about creating a brand without the NGO tag. What Poulomi has done is something phenomenal and we believe that this could empower more Rural Indian talents and let them achieve breaking all the hurdles. Also, read what happens if your resistance paves way for persistence.