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Kolkata, India

Entrepreneurs du Monde in Kolkata (H³ #2)

Professionalising the embroidery skills of women in the slums of Kolkata

In India, a group of women artisans are reviving ancestral embroidery skills, to promote their work more effectively. Entrepreneurs du Monde has launched a specific project with seven women, formed into a collective to develop their business further. 

Fondation d'Entreprise Hermès - Entrepreneurs du Monde in Kolkata (H³ #2)
© Entrepreneurs du Monde

Launched in Kolkata in 2007 by the not-for-profit organisation Entrepreneurs du Monde, STEP (Sampurna Training and Entrepreneurship Programme) is a micro-finance project that has worked with a group of seven seamstresses since 2014. The seven, all from the same Kolkata slum, have formed a cooperative, currently producing underskirts for saris while acquiring enhanced expertise that will enable them to promote their work and dynamise their business.

The project aims to partner the women in the production of finer quality pieces, through ad hoc training reintroducing them to ancestral techniques. By mastering historic skills they become custodians of an acknowledged tradition in India and beyond. As their work becomes more stimulating, the women attain greater financial autonomy, enhanced self-esteem, and pride in producing work that shows off their skill.

Expert instructors are reintroducing a variety of traditional embroidery techniques to the slum neighbourhood. Under the aegis of STEP, women are trained in situ to become local teachers in their own right, passing on their know-how to embroiderers seeking to enhance their skills and develop their own businesses. The programme is supported by the Fondation d’entreprise Hermès as part of the second edition of our H³ programme (Heart – Head – Hand). 

>> Find out more about H³ #2

>> Find out more about Entrepreneurs du Monde in Haïti

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