Tasar Silkworm Rearers Learn To Smile
Visitors to Dhovarni, a small village in the Santhal Parganas in the state of Jharkhand, India, would be struck by the stark poverty: poorly thatched shacks masquerading as homes, the total absence of roads (the nearest one being 5km away), no electricity, and no sanitation. Yet, the dwellers of this and neighboring villages are smiling.
The creators of our line of soft, colorful, silk scarves and cushion covers are a cooperative of artisans who are scattered across villages in the Santhal Parganas in Jharkhand. Living in forested and forest-fringed areas, the artisans lead a tribal lifestyle, far away from roads or modern infrastructure. Nevertheless, by spending an average of 60-90 days a year rearing silkworm cocoons and creating silk products, they have been able to obtain sustainable development.
Although harvesting the tasar silkworm cocoons has been a practice for generations, a drop in demand and prices almost forced these artisans to abandon this traditional art. However, fair trade practices have increased the demand for the tasar silk, allowing these skillful people to sell their silk in international markets and secure a sustainable income for themselves.
The artisans in these villages benefit from fair trade. They are able to practice and teach their art to younger generations while earning a living. Men no longer have to leave their families for months in search of wage labor and are able to afford modern machinery that aids them in growing crops and performing other tasks. Women become contributors to the household, feeling empowered because they are able to supply enough food for their families.
View the silk products made by this artisan group below: