It was the summer of 1969. Kutch was ravaged by drought for the fourth year in a row. Food and hope were hard to find.
Chanda Shroff visited Dhaneti village in Kutch to help run a free kitchen. The village women were reluctant to accept charity. But in the exquisite hand embroidery displayed on their clothing, she saw a way to enable them to earn a sustainable and dignified livelihood.
This was the beginning of Shrujan (meaning Creativity in Sanskrit).
Today over three thousand five hundred craftswomen, spread over a hundred and twenty remote villages across Kutch, are part of the Shrujan family.
Our craftswomen work from home. Our production team ensures that the fabrics and threads reach them wherever they are, right at their doorstep. The women do not have to pay for the materials. But they receive their fair dues for their skill and their time, as soon as they have completed the embroidery.
The embroidered textiles are then fashioned into high – quality apparel, accessories and lifestyle products, and marketed through our shops and Shrujan exhibitions.
It has been an extraordinary adventure – and one that has changed all our lives
Shrujan’s founder Chanda Shroff was honoured with the Rolex Award for Enterprise in 2006.
The income earned from embroidery has helped the craftswomen to secure a better future for themselves and their families. And they have become artists in their own right, gaining respect in their communities and winning awards. Â Shrujan’s work in sustaining embroidery through the present and into the future is ongoing. As we get closer to the embroidery communities we are discovering new styles and new aspects to their craft. We are producing Craft Heritage Books and Self – Learning Films on all the embroidery communities. We have also recorded over a hundred oral narratives of people intimately connected with Kutch. Â One of our most recent – and most ambitious – efforts is the setting up of the Living and Learning Design Centre (LLDC). Dedicated to the craftspeople of Kutch, LLDC is envisioned as a multi – dimensional crafts education and resource centre.
An enduring love of the crafts in general and embroidery in particular, a genuine respect for the handmade artefact and the artisan, a recognition of the need to ensure a dignified and sustainable livelihood for rural craftswomen, and a passion for excellence – these are the ideas and ideals that continue to define Shrujan and its work.