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Desi Trust

Active Partner

Location : Karnataka

Founded in : 21-03-2014

Founder : Prasanna

About Desi

Desi is a leading service organisation in Karnataka, in the handloom sector today. It is Bangalore based Charitable Trust run by eminent personalities from the field of art, literature, design, marketing and fashion. Desi has eleven (11) shops which have become Bangalore land marks in Bangalore and other cities of Karnataka, for naturally dyed handloom garments. Desi works closely with rural artisan groups, SHGs, societies, women groups and other organisations.

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Borrower Image
In an age when the e-commerce giants bombard us with advertisements, there lives a man heading a weaver’s cooperative, who can be seen sporting the same 2–3 pairs of kurtas every week.

He does not carry a phone and shuttles between the ashram and the factory where they produce the kurtas you see in the above picture. In 2014, KV Prasanna, a playwright and activist and the founder of Charaka (a Rang De field partner) even held a five-day fast as he believed that “it has become a habit for every politician to talk about handloom and khadi, but they don’t put in efforts to revive the sector”.

With the second National Handloom Day having just passed us by, the focus is slowly returning to a sector that employs the most people in rural areas after agriculture. Handloom, though, consists only 11.5% of the textile production in the country.

Charaka is a shining light in the village of Heggodu near Sagar in Karnataka and has ensured employment for women weavers, keeping the tradition of handloom alive for over 20 years.

A firm believer in Gandhism, Prasanna leads the morning prayer at the cooperative and instils values of self-sufficiency and pride in rural living. “Why do you need to buy so many clothes? One should only buy what they need,” Prasanna had once said to a Rang De team member on a visit.

While not a statement one would expect from the head of a clothing cooperative but it is part of the playwright’s belief that ‘want begets want’ and this materialist drive can be dangerous to the social fabric of rural communities, dazed as they are by the inexorable march towards wealth generation in the cities which has led to rapid migration depopulating rural areas and depriving them of much of their culture.

A 20-year struggle to ensure decent livelihoods for women

It was not always easy for the women in Heggodu to earn a decent living. In the past, women in the villages used to work as bonded labourers walking 10kms to de-shell areca nuts.

“There was just one tailor in all of Heggodu in 1994,” General Manager Bhagirithi told me when I visited Charaka in May.

“Through Charaka, women began to get interested in tailoring and began to think, ‘I can also do this type of work’ and received the courage.

“Now there is a tailoring machine in everyone’s house. There are 10–15 tailors within Heggodu itself.”

Evaluated By : Suhas Bhat

Borrower Image
Charaka is a multi-purpose cooperative society operating in the village of Heggodu near Shimoga in Karnataka. In an area where women rarely had the opportunity to earn a living in the recent past, Charaka brought alive the 'khadi' or handloom weaving tradition of the region and is now securing employment for over 450 individuals across Karnataka. General manager Bhagirathi explains how Charaka have benefitted from Rang De support and wishes that we achieve similar fruitful partnerships with other organizations involved in the rural development sector. Support this Rang De field partner and many others at www.rangde.org/invest today.

Evaluated By : Rang De Team

Partnership Summary

Total No. of Loans 12
Total amount disbursed Rs.11,024,400
Expected repayment so far Rs.3,579,947
Amount repaid Rs.7,444,453
Amount delayed Rs.0
Amount defaulted Rs.0

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