Malegaon region situated in Nashik district is about 270 kms from Mumbai; the financial capital of India. Zodgay, is a small village in Malegaon with a population of 4000-5000 people.
Stitched to Perfection – The story of Tanishka in Zodgay
Tanishka Foundation in Zodgay village, Malegaon block, Nashik district, Maharashtra
Tanishka Women’s Forum was formed in the village and the group has 10 members as part of the forum. The group came in contact with Ms. Neelima Mishra, a Ramon Magsaysay Award Winner Asia’s equivalent to the Nobel Peace Prize in the field of Emergent Leadership who stayed in the neighbouring village. Neelima encouraged the women to think beyond the world of Zodgay and bring their art of making quilts in the external world. Creative ideas floated in the group and women initiated the process of making quilts and selling this at the Malegaon market. The process of making quilts is very interesting. Old sarees which cannot be used are utilized as outer covering for the quilts. Women need open spaces where 4 women work together at one time and start stitching in a synchronized manner. Each quilt takes 5-6 hours to be stitched. The Tanishka Foundation in the last one year sold approximately 1000 quilts at the rate of Rs. 600-800 (US$ 10-12) on their own.
This was not the end for the group. It so happened that Amy Godfrey, a social entrepreneur from Australia, was frequenting India, especially the region in which this forum is based to observe and learn techniques about organic farming. She happened to meet the women of the Tanishka Foundation . On learning what they do and having witnessed their skills, Amy enquired about the costs and time invested by them in doing this work. Upon inquiry, she realised that these women besides doing the daily house chores have to work for the financial stability of their family. Hence, they worked together as a team and divided the money they earned jointly. This amount came to be a really meagre sum for each of them.
She realised that with some strategic interventions these women could improve their income and achieve better results. Seeing their determination to scale up their production, she thought that if they improved the quality of their products further, she could provide them a greater access in the Australian market. Women decided that they would fetch materials of good quality from the market and also design the quilts in a more lively and interesting manner. Amy helped the women to liaison with a company in Australia which more than doubled their earnings to Rs. 2000 (US $30+) per piece.
This experience taught them how to market and sell their products and also bring in quality. This boosted their self-confidence and also their self- esteem. The women learned to organize operations and to look at the entire value chain in a professional manner.
Having successfully delivered on the order from Australia, Mrs. Vaishali Desai the group leader of the Forum took the initiative to sell the quilts to Saudi Arabia. She networked with her brother to provide platforms for the women to sell their quilts. With increased confidence in their own product and synergy to create a new market so as to get the best price for their product, have been the driving forces for these women to have confidence and capacity to deliver to markets beyond their own country.