When we were designing our work and were thinking of what we wanted to achieve, we came up with a lot of answers. However, there were 2 things that stood out – our core goals:
- Rather than migrate to cities, people in rural areas should be able to find livelihood of their choice in the village itself.
- Our work should promote community living.
For both of these goals, our livelihoods projects will be the key. With agriculture not being a possibility due to water scarcity, there is a dire need to generate employment, especially in the non-farm sectors. This is also necessary so as to diversify the employment basket away from agriculture. Also, it is the profit from the livelihoods projects that will provide the financial muscle to run our learning centres and the nature cure hospitals.
We also wish that the village should once again live as one family. This could come about if life revolves around an economic institution, especially an institution that is subservient to the needs of society. With an overriding profit sharing agreement with the producers and investing a substantial part of the profits generated from the livelihoods projects, we believe that our livelihoods projects could yield such an institution.
Presently, we are exploring 2 livelihoods opportunities – design and stitching of bags, home enhancements, etc and food processing.
We have already conducted 2 workshops on stitching. Photos can be viewed on these links:
We have 2 ladies working with us on a part time basis. We recently set up a stall at the Jaipur office of Genpact, the outsourcing giant. I am happy that we got a good response from the employees of Genpact. More importantly, we got some very valuable feedback.
We are also working with Bodhi Digital, a US based technology company and our technology partner, and Mr Peter Larson, to set up a market for our products in the US. We have also had preliminary talks with friends who will procure our goods so as to market them in the UK.
We have now recruited the services of Nidhi Khandelwal, a designer, to help us with our work. I am happy to share that she has agreed to help us on a pro bono basis, at least until we achieve scale.
We have been giving a lot of thought to food processing, since there is a lot of food that grows here, and is unfortunately sold in raw form by the farmers. Therefore, adding value and capturing a larger part of the value chain, is the obvious step. We have various ideas and will soon run a pilot to test our ideas in the marketplace.