Saroj (left) is a  village seamstress in the village of Shekhpur in Rajasthan: her story

Saroj is leader of a group of village women in GENs handicraft project in the village of Shekhpur in Rajasthan.  She has great leadership skills and has persuaded 8 other seamstresses to join her in making very attractive quilted bags they sell to make some independent income.  This they use to educate their children, deal with family health problems, and meet other family needs.  It has also raised their status in the family and the community.  Saroj has been able to do this because her group and at least 10 other groups of women have been supported by a project that GEN funds in a remote rural part of Rajasthan.  The women want to upgrade this project.


On 12th March GEN, the Grassroots Empowerment Initiative, launched a 3 week crowd funding campaign under Global Giving  to further develop this handicrafts project.

Ever-better handicrafts production by Tijara women supplements family incomes

Handicrafts production centres have been operating in 10 villages in the Tijara Block. More than 80 women are regularly engaged in producing a growing range of traditionally designed items for sale in India and elsewhere in the world. Over 250 women have been trained to date and more are asking to join the programme. The challenge for End Poverty (EP) is to match production levels against prospects for sales. That is the focus of work in the project during 2018.  

Improvements in quality and an increased range in the items produced have marked the past 6-9 months. This is in part thanks to Sughanda, an adviser to EP, who has held regular workshops with the women to introduce new designs and raise awareness of quality issues.

This project began in 2010 when a GEN / EP team was visiting one of the Tijara villages and saw a traditionally designed quilt hanging on a line. This led to a decision to check if the women would be interested in making handicrafts for income generation. Just £300 was provided to buy materials and sewing machines and pay a seamstress teacher to guide the first small steps in production.  The Pakhar Singh Foundation through iPartner India generously funded the early stages of the project

Over 200 women have been trained in sewing skills and the quality of products was improved.  At a recent stakeholder meeting, the trained women expressed a need for upgraded sewing machines to enable them to produce higher quality products.  An outreach / marketing plan was initiated during 2016.  The long term plan is transform the project into an independent handicrafts production centre by 2020 in which the women play key leadership roles.

Can you help us to sell the Tijara handicrafts in UK? To find out more about what is made, what it costs, and how to get hold of it, email


You can help.  How?  By publicising the campaign  to family, friends and members of any networks you are in that you think might be interested and asking them to make a donation - anything from £10 upwards - details in project description.  Also you can connect to your friends and family on Facebook by liking our page (, ahd sharing our posts on this project, or you can follow us on Twitter and and re-tweet relevant to your twitter contacts (  

In addition, of course, any donation from you would also be most appreciated.  

The GEN Initiative Ltd.  Working with grassroot NGOs and the most disadvantaged villagers to contribute to the elimination of poverty.

Charity Commission Registration No. 1101193

 Charitable Company Limited by Guarantee No. 4620446

 Company Limited by Guarantee No. 4620446