Local people. Local skills. Locally-sourced materials.
Avani focuses on capacity building in rural communities, and on creating opportunities for women and families to make sustainable contributions to their villages. We are devoted to generating income for local people using only local skills and local, environmentally friendly materials. Our primary focus is on sustainably harvested and produced tints, dyes, textiles and garments.
Today, Avani includes a network of nearly 800 artisans and farmers who work together to grow, process, design and create products that generate income for local residents. Products range from raw natural colorants for cosmetics and pharmaceuticals to eco-friendly art supplies for children to textile printing and dyeing. Each product line is part of a high quality industry on track to scale and compete in international markets.
Avani initially began working with the Shauka community, also known as Johari or Johari Shauka, of the Bageshwar and Pithoragarh districts. Traditionally, the Shaukas lived a nomadic life and were a part of the thriving Indo-Tibetan trade before Tibet was taken over by China. This made them increasingly dependent on spinning and weaving – a traditional craft they practiced to process animal fiber for their use and commerce.
More than 63% of Avani’s artisans come from the Bora Kuthalia community. Traditionally, this agrarian population processed hemp fiber grown in Kumaoni valleys but they are now abandoning the craft because of the ambiguous legal framework around the growth of Indian hemp. We train them to work with silk and wool in a profitable manner.
Though both men and women are involved in the activities of Avani, the focus is largely on women, where 85% of the participants in the programmes are women.
Apart from the main Tripuradevi center, Avani has six field centers in the villages of Digoli, Sukna, Dharamghar, Chankana, Thanga and Basti. The villages of Digoli, Dharamgarh and Sukna, and Chankana have donated land for construction of production centers. Most of the villages are very remote, ranging from 30 minutes to four hours walking distance from the nearest road. To date, Avani has worked directly with 108 villages, benefitting 4,540 people and indirectly impacting 22,700 people through its various projects and activities.