URJA (Small Business Programs):
Project Urja works with tribal women to start a micro business in their own village. These micro businesses range from starting a daily needs corner to a dry fish selling shop to vegetable vending or starting a food business to backyard poultry. Over 60 women have already started some micro business and over 300 women are involved in running a backyard poultry business. Raah Foundation provides the initial capital needed to start the business. Women are also intensively trained in nuances of running a business which include lessons in cash flow, bank operations, purchase, sales and marketing and customer relationship. The earnings for each woman are in the range of Rs. 2400/- to Rs. 3,500/- per month. The additional income is not only helping women lead a better life but importantly it has improved the self esteem of the woman. Spread across over 40 different hamlets in Jawhar & Mokhada, our enterprising women are united under the common brand name Urja which means energy and power
Women are taught basic entrepreneurship skills and donations are given to setup small business projectss like grocery shop or poultry farm or dry fish/vegetable selling. The program facilitates how to open new business, run it successfully along with doing household duties and earning a respectable amount for supporting their lives. Our facilitator looks after training of the village folks and helps them to solve any execution issue and helps them in maintaining accounts and scaling up their business. This module will help many villages to maintain good economic growth and further create opportunities for many more new business plans to develop and sustain.
Tribal Warli Art has gained immense popularity over the years. Unfortunately, nothing has reached the artisans. Unable to commercially exploit the art form, several artisans have quit pursuing the art form and have become daily wage labourers. Raah Foundation through its traditional art program has not only revived the glory of warli art form but importantly put it back into the hands of the artisans. Raah Foundation’s warli art program has been chosen as one of the top 50 most promising rural livelihood programs in the handicraft sector by Harvard South Asia Institute and Tata Trust. Subsequently a social innovation grant was also provided to start a warli art studio in Jawhar.
Over 25 warli artisans were brought to Rachana Sansad School of Art and Architecture in Mumbai for a two-day upskilling program where they were taught to paint warli art on different media. Warli Artisans attached to Raah Foundation make beautiful products with hand painted warli motifs which are sold by Raah Foundation’s affiliate company Raah Creative Designs LLP which is a social business that provides the last mile market connectivity to the tribals and the tribal products.
The tribal women have been traditionally expert in making patchwork quilts for their everyday use. Raah Foundation while honing these skills have upgraded the women to make beautiful patchwork products like bags, mats, table runners over and above the beautiful quilts. Women have also been trained in embroidery skills and they use this art on cushion covers, jackets and other products. Over 2000 women have been trained so far and many of these make fabric patchwork products which are sold by Raah Creative Designs LLP.