Block Printing is such an intricate and deceptively difficult process, its hard to imagine being able to perfect it- at all. Ever. When I think of some of the difficulties faced by the people that make these gorgeous cotton tablecoths, I am truly in awe. Hearing the story of how they came to be, its hard not to be overwhelmed and humbled by the enduring strength of human nature.
Sustainable Threads established this group of would be artisans in India in the 70s, with the goal of providing meaningful income to those with physical disabilities. At the time, extreme social stigma was faced by those with leprosy in the country and many of those with physical disabilities related to leprosy were rejected by their own families and forced to leave home.
There were very few employment opportunities and next to no social services available. It is a heartbreaking truth that unfortunately, in India, physically disabled people continue to face these same problems today. The block printing and textile making program was designed to complement treatment at a local hospital for those with physical disabilities. Patients are offered craft training, in conjunction with the rehabilitation process. And, eventually, offered long term, stable jobs. The aim is to give disabled people access to financial independence and, potentially, an avenue to social acceptance, allowing these individuals to reintegrate with their families and communities.
Currently there are eighty-five people employed, with over 60% living at home. Raw materials are dropped off at their homes and finished products picked up. Around thirty-five artisans are living in the town and commute to work. Each worker is paid a living wage regardless of how little or how many products they may be able to create based on physical limitations. Those that are working at home are given door-to-door service from their homes to the hospital for a once-a-month-checkup.
The artisans are offered free medical support, including reconstruction surgeries. They are trained at the workshop for three to six months in the craft they choose. In certain cases, tools are specifically designed to accommodate the artisan’s disability and to aid the artisan in completing their task. They also have access to interest-free housing loans, maternity leave, and subsidized meals.
I am honored to be be able to share these incredible stories, and I am so grateful to Sustainable Threads for there innovative thinking, and the gorgeous people, inside and out, who contribute such enduring, timeless pieces...
If you wish, you can support & purchase their gorgeous tablecloths
Your purchase of these beautiful, handcrafted linens impacts a life.
In a good way...