Equity through empowerment.
The Nilgiris is one of the oldest registered Biospheres in India. It is a source of a lot of goodness for our planet. Like any other Biospheres, indigenous communities are key to the sustainability and strength of the biosphere.
But how can they take care of the land if they struggle to take care of themselves?
The Nilgiri’s primary source of income is agriculture and tourism. But with the climate crisis and inflation, these 2 industries are not enough to sustain the villages of the Blue Mountains. Most families struggle to put food on the table. Often the members of the family who can earn have to travel far or give up on their traditional way of life to be able to earn a meager income. This was the problem Sunita and Suhas noticed.
In 2018, Sunita and Suhas started a life off-the-grid and among the wild, away from the city and corporate structures. As they embraced the community, they noticed the communities struggle with unstable livelihoods. Their efforts towards finding a sustainable solution to this problem gave birth to Indian Yards Foundation. It is a foundation and the start of a social enterprise ecosystem that empowers these communities towards socio-economic well-being with craft and commerce as means.
When considering potential solutions to help their neighbors, Sunita and Suhas realized it needed to be a solution that wouldn’t disrupt traditional ways of life. Sunita realized that she could use her crafting experience to help these women make products during the time they had available. The women needed to be upskilled into first generation artisans and then enabled to produce from their respective homes. They could then earn equitable income from the products they make.
Indian Yards Foundation has hence played the role of recruiting, upskilling and capacity building for women of these communities so they can take control of their economic future. Why women? At Indian Yards Foundation, we believe while the women are most vulnerable in this equation, they are the most resourceful when it comes to holding households together. This resourcefulness helps with making these communities resilient.
For this ecosystem to be self-sustainable, we have established a market linking arm, The Good Gift. The Good Gift helps with both market insights and access hence, is the source of equitable income generation for these women. Visit The Good Gift to learn more and see some of the creations by our artisans.