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Location : Madhya Pradesh

Partner Since : 09-08-2016

Founder : Nivedita Banerjee

About Kumbaya

Kumbaya is the brand name for machine-stitched ready-to-wear garments, home linen and accessories designed to market specifications and international trends. The unique significance of Kumbaya is that these products are made by women from one of the most remote, backward and poor regions of India. Women were encouraged to move away from agriculture-based activities and are trained with this new skill- garment fabrication, in a region with no prior marketable craft. Today over 1000 women in 70 villages have learned stitching. Kumbaya has been supported by Samaj Pragati Sahayog all these years. On the 24th of July 2015, Kumbaya Producer Company Limited was incorporated (KPCL), to hand over ownership, management and responsibility to those who participate and benefit from this economic activity.

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Kumbaya, a producer company operates out of three different centers in Madhya Pradesh – Neemkheda, Bagli, and Satwas. Under the banner of Samaj Pragati Sayog, an MP-based NGO, the organization has evolved into a well-known label and provides jobs to many women living in remote tribal areas.

For the local people who have traditionally engaged in agrarian livelihoods, becoming a part of the contemporary clothing industry has been quite a journey.

Both women and men are trained, free of cost, in tailoring a wide range of garments and learn how to sew trendy clothes within a short span of time. Towards the end of the training period, producers are chosen depending on the quality of work done.

Not all those who are selected continue working for Kumbaya. Many leave due to personal constraints or to start their own units closer to home. Whether they choose to stay or leave, it is clear the training they receive here provides them with an alternative source of income.

During a recent interaction with producers from different centers, we heard their stories first-hand and learned of how Kumbaya changed their lives. Urmila and her husband have been associated with the Neemkheda center since its inception.

Back then, there were only four sewing machines and a few producers who handled much of the load. Now, the center is manned by 20 producers and imparts training to 20 newcomers. Urmila recalls what life used to be like 14 years ago. There was no concept of savings at home and money was earned through sharecropping. Six days of hard labour brought in Rs.150.

Today, Urmila’s daughters and son are studying in college while she and her husband continue to enjoy gainful employment at Kumbaya’s Neemkheda center.

Ranjana never dreamt that she would venture out of the village much less the state but working at Kumbaya changed all of that. She traveled to Indore and Delhi to participate in exhibitions and benefitted from many new experiences like sharing a room with a foreign national and learning how to market and sell products. “Kumbaya is like a family”, she says, smiling throughout our conversation.

All four of her siblings are also working at Kumbaya in various capacities. With a regular monthly income of Rs.6000, Ranjana saves money in the bank, has an LIC policy and no longer seeks loans from moneylenders.

For Gora, who spent nearly all her time at home, Kumbaya opened a way for her to contribute financially to her family. The center purchased a special hand-operated sewing machine and taught her how to use it.

Today, she is one of many differently-abled producers who work on Kumbaya’s signature patchwork products. Gora recalls a moment of pride when for the first time, her father placed his hand on her head and gave her his blessing when she fully repaid a family loan.

Kumbaya’s struggle for affordable credit was met in part with a Rang De loan. We look forward to extending support to this grass-roots initiative as it continues to empower tribal communities across Madhya Pradesh.

Thank you for investing in Kumbaya’s loan. If you would like to help other micro-ventures in need, please click on the link.

Evaluated By : Ahinsa Sharma

Partnership Summary

Total No. of Loans 1
Total amount disbursed Rs.400,000
Expected repayment so far Rs.400,000
Amount repaid Rs.400,000
Amount delayed Rs.0
Amount defaulted Rs.0

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