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|SKVIS (Sundarban Khadi + Village Industrial Society), India
SKVIS aims to improve the socio-economic status of rural people, and to involve marginal and poor women in the development process.
To this end, SKVIS arranges different types of training for rural women from village level to State level, and aims to provide support in both the setting up, and ongoing development, of individual production units in mainly rural locations. SKVIS gives technical and other guidance to the rural women for production and marketing, for both the domestic and overseas markets, within a framework of sustainable development.
Another part of SKVIS's
rationale is the initiation of development (and research) programmes at village
level, in partnership with the villagers, especially women, with a particular
focus on health and education.
On the product-side SKVIS focuses on traditional textile industries such as weaving, batik, blockprint, screenprint, and dying. These techniques are applied to create cotton and silk scarves, wraps, sarongs, wallhangings, and also tailored garments.
The mainly women producers benefit from a minimum national wage, decent working conditions and hours according to the law. They also enjoy holidays and support with their children's education and healthcare.
One of the challenges, however, is the effective marketing of products. This is often due to a lack of a working fund. This constraint is an obstacle in the promotion and marketing of SKVIS products.
Despite the challenges, we believe this is worthwhile because lot of poor people are involved in the struggle for their own survival.
In future we want to replicate the concept of SKVIS, and extend it to other areas, to benefit more people.
We think consumer education is also required for fair trade products -people need to understand the difference in benefits to the producers engaged in fair trade production. And UK consumers need to know the whys and hows of our struggle.
Shephali Roy, SKVIS