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Gramswarajya Sangathan – People's Organisation Awareness Generation Water Conservation, Irrigation and Land Improvement Agriculture, Horticulture and Forestry Animal Husbandry Khadi and Village Industry Education for Children Health and Medical Care Women Empowerment Rural Entitlement and Legal Support Environmental Health Protection

 

 
Khadi and Village Industry
 
 
  A woman weaving khadi cloth

Meeting all the requirements of life on the basis of agriculture is not possible for small farmers and they need complementary sources of income. Village industries offer full possibilities in this regard. In this context, in order to improve the economic status of small farmers, the Ashram initiated khadi and village development related activities in 1979, with support from the Khadi and Village Industries Commission. The Ashram also ventured in harvesting minor forest produce that had good employment potential. The people not only got better prices for products like amla, bahera, bagai, etc., but also understood weights and measures and accounting, ultimately leading to the end of corruption. The Ashram purchased and sold hides for some years, explained to the people proper ways of removing and storing hides, for getting a fair price.

Ashram level activities:

  • Increasing entrepreneurship and employment potentials were the need when the Ashram started implementing whole village development programmes and these are still as relevant even today. The Ashram has experienced workers who manage various activities and on the basis of this resource, the Ashram started apprentice trainings in various skills, including social work, for the development of the villagers. This has been very beneficial for the community. For this, experts are consulted from time to time, students are sent to different places for observation and learning, special trainings are also organised from time to time. The process has been successful. About 3000 persons are beneficiaries. Most of them are settled in life, some are training others in turn, some have joined service or are using their skills acquired by training for generating additional income. These results and the opening of an industrial training institute have reduced the inflow of aspiring candidates at Ashram. Yet, even now there are always a few apprentice trainees. Voluntary service groups also take advantage of the facilities.
  • Mustard oil (first from ox driven high capacity oil expeller, now from motor driven expellers)
  • Training of potters in new techniques in Maharashtra
  • Appropriate interventions in traditional black-smithy practised by the Agaria tribe people
  • Promotion of traditional shoe-making and introduction of new techniques
  • Establishment of saw mills
  • Establishment of paddy processing and a flour mill
  • Production of masala and haldi powder
  • Agarbatti making
  • Promotion of carpentry
  • Promotion of bamboo work and bamboo cultivation
  • Promotion of silk worm rearing and cocoon production
  • Wool spinning and blanket weaving and processing
  • Cotton and silk cloth production and their processing

Brick making was also introduced by Ashram but this was not made a regular activity.

To address the unemployment situation, the Ashram runs employment oriented training in agriculture, animal husbandry, tailoring, electric fitting, diesel pump mechanics, etc. It also trains social workers, veterinarians, health workers, etc.

Apart from the Khadi and village industry, topics Ashram has offered are trainings in maintenance of its electric wiring, pumps, water connection, vehicles, etc. This workshop has trained a good number of persons who are now self-employed. Almost 3,000 people have been trained in different vocations so far. Several trainees have opened their shops, workshops, and many have become drivers, mechanics, etc. Many trainees have learnt tailoring and they have opened their shops and also trained some others.

Training facilities available with the Ashram are being used by other voluntary organisations as well.

The achievements in the field of Khadi and village industries Area:

Khadi

  • Spinning and weaving of cotton, silk, woolen (blankets) at Ashram and village centres.
  • Processing of khadi: at Ashram
  • Sale points: 7

Gramodyog

  • Promotion of washing soap (with mahua oil base) and bathing soap (coconut oil base), and spread of knowhow of making washing soap to villagers so that they can make their washing soap by using their own mahua seed oil
  • Mustard oil pressing, using over head power production and spread of the mahua through women's organisations
  • Paddy processing, using Khadi Gramodyog Commission approved model (less polishing)
  • Promotion of shoe making and introduction of new techniques, local cobblers trained. Except a few, the majority preferred repair work and earned livelihood
  • A saw mill facility for the village carpenters
  • Agarbatti making at Ashram and spread of knowhow through training and demonstration among women groups
  • Orientation training for local blacksmiths, and introduction of new techniques
  • Brick making was introduced but not continued, people have learnt the skill and used it for own consumption

Promotion of craft has met with varying success. Initial response was good; then the prolonged drought conditions had a negative effect.

In the past few years, the Ashram has made an effort to establish a continuing dialogue with the craftsmen, for understanding their constraints and for finding solutions to these. Karigar Sansthan was formed with the purpose of resolving the problems, aiming at upgradation of skills and representation at government level. A facility centre for craftsmen wass also started and it has extended its services to a few remote points, to facilitate the work of craftsmen.

Vocational Training

Increasing entrepreneurship and employment potentials were the need when the Ashram started implementing whole village development programmes and these are still as relevant even today. The Ashram has experienced workers who manage various activities and on the basis of this resource, the Ashram started apprentice trainings in various skills, including social work, for the development of the villagers. This has been very beneficial for the community. For this, experts are consulted from time to time, students are sent to different places for observation and learning, special trainings are also organised from time to time. The process has been successful. About 3000 persons are beneficiaries. Most of them are settled in life, some are training others in turn, some have joined service or are using their skills acquired by training for generating additional income. These results and the opening of an industrial training institute have reduced the inflow of aspiring candidates at Ashram. Yet, even now there are always a few apprentice trainees. Voluntary service groups also take advantage of the facilities.