Social entrepreneur and designer, Subrata Pandey has a vision to create a better life for marginalized communities by guiding them to use their creative skills.
“India as a country hasn’t completely realized its potential of indigenous and traditional practices, – she believes, – knowledge of which is still deeply rooted in the remotest parts of our country. Provided the right technology and management these skills can disrupt the consumer market and totally change the consumer preference from cheap quality products to high quality locally produced goods.”
Her aim is to scale up Punarnawa into a leading social enterprise that uses craft and traditional practices as a medium to create sustainable practices at the grassroots for the tribal and the marginalized communities. Currently they have tight streamlined operations in Odisha, Jharkhand, and Chhattisgarh. In Assam, they have established a strategic non-profit trust called Project North East to revive indigenous textile and crafts that are on the verge of extinction.
Punarnawa team makes clothing using hand-woven fabrics that are mostly woven or prepared in-house. They also make indigenous jewelry; metal décor items in dokra, bell metal, and brass; crochet toys and knit wear for kids and adults; and gift items and home improvement items in natural fibers like siali, sabai, bamboo, palm leaf, etc. They customize products for buyers and create yardage to their specifications. Punarnawa is reviving indigenous textiles with certain tribes in Assam.
“We want to be known for our vision to create working opportunities for the less fortunate, – Subrata says, – and our efforts to make them aware of their rights and give them access to a decent life. There is a focused strategy for the expansion of our brand. Our model is inclusive and the makers have an equal say in the decision making.”
Read this story in POOL 88.