Sister duo Megha and Shipra Agarwal felt the importance of reviving handicrafts in Odisha. Intricate works of Pipili, pattachitra paintings, delicate silver filigree jewellery, Paralakhemundi, tribal dhokra figurines and sabai grass weavings, all these are art forms belonging to Odisha. But the Agarwal sisters felt the lakhs of artisans working on this art are not getting their share of due. So to revive the craft market, they founded KalaGhar in 2016. With this, they aim to revive the handicraft industry in Odisha, Chhattisgarh and West Bengal.
The sisters realized that the handicraft market is unorganized and is not as technologically advanced as is the organized setup. KalaGhar works as an ecommerce platform inspired by the concept of arte util, meaning useful art in Spanish. KalaGhar aims to improve the financial capacity of Sabai artisans in Mayurbhanj District, which homes 45 tribal communities. They not only help artisans develop the products but also help them understand design and trends. The two co-founders Megha and Shipra knew from the beginning that they wanted to create a business which can also create social value.
Collaborating with Baripada Jail
To give a social meaning to their venture, the sisters collaborated with Baripada jail in Mayurbhanj district. They conducted a 7-day workshop on Sabai weaving for the prisoners there. At present, they are working with 70 artisans and aim to add 200 more by 2020. This craft form has become a source of reform for the prisoners.
The road ahead
KalaGhar is working hard in reviving handicraft and look forward to provide the artisans with the respect and appreciation they deserve for their work. They also aim to provide quality primary education and basic health services for artisans and their families.