Hello Ibu allies,
I am thrilled to share with you three new grants that Ibu recently funded with new and existing artisan partners in Southeast Asia. Over the past six years, the Ibu Foundation has expanded its Capacity Building Program—supporting artisan groups in 23 different countries with projects including workspace repairs, training sessions, upgraded equipment and supplies, and emergency relief—and we are excited to continue growing this arm of the Ibu Movement as we plan to double our impact in over the next decade.
In Central India, in the town of Maheshwar, a young generation of weaving entrepreneurs is learning sustainable textile techniques, while also receiving training in marketing and business management. The Handloom Weaving School was created in 2015 through the social enterprise WomenWeave, and has trained over 100 young women weavers so far. The student selection process is rigorous, only accepting two classes of 15 weavers ages 18-30, to complete a six-month intensive program. Upon graduation, the talented women spend three days meeting buyers and sellers in an opportunity to engage new potential clients. The Ibu Foundation is pleased to fund the next two classes of weavers in this program.
At SheWorks in Pakistan, cooperative leader Samina Mahmud, is dedicated to preserving Pakistan’s rich heritage of traditional crafts. A long-time partner in the Movement, she reached out to ask if Ibu could provide funding for a handloom workspace. For political reasons, it is difficult to procure certain fabrics, and most of the local handloom operations have shut down over time because of the availability of cheaper fabrics and resulting lack of demand. Samina knows her cooperative can utilize the higher-quality hand-loomed textiles, and sees this as another way she can employ women and preserve their cultural heritage. Ibu’s grant will help to establish a handloom weaving workspace that will provide looms, spindles, and raw materials and will make a powerful impact in this area.
In Northern India, in the capital city of Lucknow, another group of ambitious young women are learning the rare techniques of Chickankari hand-embroidery. In 2022, the group Bhairvi’s Chikan received a grant from Ibu Foundation to train 22 women in the Daraz embroidery technique. Upon the success of that training, Bhairvi’s founder, Mamta Varma, applied for a second grant to train two dozen women in Jali needlework, also known as lattice work. In her application, Mamta wrote about the technique: Jali is a highly skilled ability that requires practice, meticulousness, good eyesight, and evenness in execution. The Ibu Foundation team is proud to provide this support so the women from Bhairvi’s Chikan can master this new technique.
I look forward to sharing more of our Capacity Building Grants with you along the way! Thank you to all Ibu allies who have supported the Ibu Movement—your involvement makes projects like the ones listed above possible.
Director of Artisan Support