Working with 40,000 artisans, belonging to socially and economically vulnerable class in over 600 villages in Rajasthan, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Jharkhand makes Jaipur Rugs Foundation a stellar example of social entrepreneurship in India.
Founded as a not-for-profit organisation in 2004 by Nand Kishore Chaudhary, the Foundation forms an integral part of the Jaipur Rugs Company which is the largest manufacturer and exporter of handmade carpets. It is exporting these handmade carpets to more than 45 countries such as in Europe, United States, Canada, Australia, Russia, Middle East and Asian market among various other countries.
The foundation works under two different verticals, entrepreneurship development and social development. “If we can develop entrepreneurship at the grassroot level, we can disrupt the global supply chain. It starts with skilling the unskilled people through our skilled development programme to provide them livelihood,” says Yash Ranga of Jaipur Rugs Foundation.
The Foundation aims at training, developing and upgrading new artisans at the grassroots, then engaging them with sustainable business. Considering the agony due to intense caste and gender discrimination, the foundation started nurturing the traditional artistic capabilities with them, exploring their potential and linking them with the global market. To eliminate the menace of middlemen from supply chain, from training to providing work to connecting global market, everything is directly provided to the doorstep of the artisans.
The Foundation was initially funded by the profits of Jaipur Rugs Company. “We got some funding for skill development from the Ministry of Rural Development and Panchayati Raj under its flagship scheme, Swarnjayanti Gram Swarojgar Yojana. It was about developing 4,000 artisans in Gujarat and Uttar Pradesh. Currently, we have partnered with a World Bank project, JEEViKA in Bihar. The partnership would impart training to 2,000 women artisans in the biggest naxal hit areas of the state,” explains Yash.
Entrepreneurship development and social development evolved as two different verticals of the Foundation. In the 600 villages where it is working, majority of them have no access to healthcare services, education and government schemes. Thus, the Foundation started artisans providing education to women artisans who had never been to schools. Under this, they get basic understanding of functional literacy and life skills so that it eases their work operations.