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99 Yatra
Wonder weaves
05 October 2016

There's no denying that there's a certain charm to Kutchi weaves.Understated yet elegant,over the years,we have seen top-notch designers incorporating it in their work. Thanks to them, it's found its way into our wardrobes, but not just us,Bollywood celebs such as Shilpa Shetty and Genelia D'Souza have often been spotted in Kutchi weaves as well. But have you ever thought that behind these beautiful pieces you own, there are months of toil and sweat that have gone into it. Not only that, these are testimony to how art can change people's life for the better.

Today,Gujarati handloom is considered a full-fledged industry and if you look at the larger picture, it's a blessing for those who choose to embrace it and present it to the world. For them, it's a means to end the days of the 'ugly'battle with drought and unemployment.

Take the example of Yashodaben,a 37-year-old widow and mother of three teenagers. She used to work as a labourer and domestic help. The only working member of her family, money was a problem until she started working as an embroiderer with a Bhuj-based NGO, Shrujan. It was a big step for her as she belonged to the Ahir community where selling embroidery was prohibited. Forget monetisation, people from this community were not even allowed to embroider for their own daughter/son or any other member of the family. But she chose to excel in life than suffer in ignorance."Forget education for my kids, earlier,feeding my family was a huge problem. But after I decided to defy rules and show my embroidery skills to the world, our life changed for the better. Today, I make Rs 20,000 on a sari and the best part is that two of my kids are in school,"she says. kutchhis globally , from Mumbai

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