Sustainable development never got so innovative. It’s not unlikely that at some point you may have admired the intricate workmanship of Indian handicrafts. Well, it isn’t surprising considering India is one of the largest handicraft producing countries in the world, with a range of crafts and products that is almost unlimited. What is surprisingly ironic is that all these products of lasting beauty and value are often produced in conditions of abject poverty ( under neglected and often poor conditions) the craftsmen often live in bondage to local money – lenders. It was to do away with these challenges faced by local artists that the idea of the Happy Hands Foundation was conceived in the November of ‘08. Conceptualized by two twenty two year olds, Happy Hands Foundation became a registered NGO early this year. At Happy Hands, the focus is on creating sustainable development opportunities for artisans and craftsmen of India, while reviving traditional culture through contemporary and innovative platforms and development programs to showcase their talent.
“The idea was borne of providing dignity to these artists, by retaining their craft as well as giving them a fresh approach to modern product ideas”, comments Medhavi Gandhi, Founder and Director HHF.
As cofounder and vice president of The Happy Hands Foundation , Suneera puts it,” These crafts are losing their lustre. The Happy hands foundation looks towards reviving this form by creating economically viable markets for them both locally and in metropolitan cities.”
This has been done through the organisation of various out of the box activities that help establish a unique aura around handmade products and traditions unheard-of making it. To increase visibility and expand markets cultural festivals and development programs like Purple Street and Green Room have been organized as ways to facilitate display of handicrafts and even encourage product development workshops.
The products made by these artisans: apparel, accessories, jewellery, stationery, paintings, cater to all classes creating an awareness about eco-friendly goods and at the same time promoting Indian Handicrafts.
One of the prime target audiences for The Happy Hands Foundation is the youth who they feel are the ones capable of imbibing fashion into culture. For garnering this market as well, the HHF has collaborated with the Pearl Academy of Fashion for an annual event which would involve students in to the different forms of product development and designing where students and rural designers could learn from each other. Recently, they also made their presence felt at the JMC Diwali mela as well as the Sunder Nagar Diwali Mela, gathering a positive response. More recently, they have developed Red Earth, a cultural programme involving a art appreciation\management course followed by student rural exchange programme that helps open up the rural landscape for young students, simultaneously providing them a hands on experience in terms of marketing , developing and designing the particular product of their interest.
Basically HHF works with artist clans all over India who produce high-quality apparel, handicrafts, etc and market them locally and globally to make these groups financially independent, thus providing the opportunity to empower those who can make a difference to their own lives and to those around them by providing them the required avenues and platforms. (For those of you who want to lend a helping hand, you can volunteer ( do not mention event management), communications , product development and research at www.happyhandsfoundation.info)