Social Welfare & Development

Kala Raksha began with the understanding that the first priorities of village people are earning a fair wage and having a steady income. But income generation alone does not constitute development. People must learn how to use their income. First and foremost, they must become aware of their choices and their capability of making decisions.

Kala Raksha works toward self determination, step by step. Artisans participate in determining their wages. Artisan Trustees help determine Trust operations. By consensus, Trustees decided that adequate health-care is the next priority.

Preventive Healthcare Program
The Preventive Healthcare Program began in 1997. The primary focus of the program is nutrition and hygiene. Goals established are: 1.Creation of an effective patient-doctor system, 2.Awareness of nutrition and hygiene, 3.Ability to be responsible for health of self and family, 4.Knowledge of body systems, 5. Knowledge of critical symptoms.

Baseline surveys were conducted to ascertain the existing situation and belief systems. A curriculum relevant to the artisans was developed, and weekly education programs were conducted to raise consciousness among artisans.

Today, the program continues to function on a weekly basis in 9 of the villages in which KALA RAKSHA works. Specialist doctors are called upon to present programs explaining body systems and related problems, and to examine producer group members and their families. For example, eyes have been given special care and spectacles provided when needed.

In each village, a local Health Assistant has been designated and given preliminary training. The health education curriculum has raised the level of consciousness about the body. Aware of nutrition and hygiene issues, artisans have made conscious improvements on these fronts. Most important, they have valued health education.
Basic Education
KALA RAKSHA's basic education program originally focused on literacy, utilizing a Shiksha Karmi approach: readying local people to work with their neighbors as teachers. Local teachers were identified and trained in an innovative practical program called "Learning for Earning," at Jiva Institute in Faridabad (

After three years of training, the local teachers gained poise and confidence. Artisan producer groups achieved a level of literacy which they deemed adequate to their needs.

After internal and external evaluation, from 2005, the program evolved to weekly workshops on topics relevant to artisans. Emphasis is placed on utility. For example, artisans keep their own records of their work and payment. From this, units on budgets were developed. The workshops, in addition to providing opportunities to explore and discuss, introduce words and phrases useful to artisans. In 2005, a reader based on illustrations done in the artisans' own narrative style, which were chosen through an artisan jury, was produced. The workshops clearly demonstrated that artisans are interested in education when it is appropriate.

Today the workshops are practically focused and linked to annual exhibitions of narrative work. Artisans illustrate what they have learned and what they feel about issues in appliquéd and embroidered works of art. Understanding these pieces have value as a separate genre, the artisans have begun to price them in a new way.

Micro Credit Self Help Groups
In nine villages, women artisans have formed self help groups. Each member contributes a determined amount from her earnings to a common account each month. The women maintain these accounts themselves, and grant loans to members on a consensus basis. The duration of the loan and amount of interest to be charged is also determined by the group in each instance. Women have used loans to construct homes, finance weddings, purchase seeds for cultivation, and purchase sewing machines to increase their capacity to work with KALA RAKSHA. So far, not a single case of default of loan has been noted.