Ratna Krishna Kumar
Srishti Charitable Trust
I have been actively involved with the Srishti Charitable Trust for the past 26 years. The Trust consists of:
• DARE (Development And Rehabilitative Education)
• Athulya, the paper studio,
• Aranya Natural, a natural dye unit,
• Vatica, a naturally grown vegetable garden
• Nisarga, a natural fruit jam and preserve unit and
• DELI, the bakery and confectioners.
• All these were set up for the benefit of physically and mentally challenged young adults. After completing their education at DARE, and on reaching 18 years of age, they are assigned to one of the units, depending on their aptitude. After training for 6 months, they are absorbed into the regular roles of the Trust. They are paid according to the Plantation Wages Act and enjoy all the benefits of a plantation worker.
We have 123 children and young adults at Srishti. They lead dignified lives, living independently in their houses. Most of them are married and have healthy, normal children. Srishti is supported by TATA Trust and TATA Consumer Products.I am also in the Managing committee of Paramparik Karigar, an association of craftsmen and women. We work with the grass root level Karigars, who are traditional craftsmen . We organize exhibitions in the city so that the Karigars can interact directly with the public and sell their product directly to them, cutting out the middlemen. We organize workshops with the schools and for the public to raise craft awareness. We also arrange designer intervention for the Karigars, to raise their level of designs. To promote handwoven sarees in the Indian Hotels for their uniform, embarked on a project (The Varanasi Weavers Welfare Project), which entailed adoption of a village in Varanasi and had them weave the saree This initiative was sponsored by Indian Hotels. We also educated and funded the needs of the children of the village. Regular medical checkups were conducted for the residents of the village. We also constructed 65 toilets attached to their houses. As an extension of this project, we sourced textiles and crafts for Taj Khazana Stores.Also assisted in setting up Taniera stores, the textile division of Titan by sourcing the textiles from the weavers. My journey with crafts is a personal one and my interaction with Karigars has been a unique experience, as they are extremely talented,trusting and caring people. Anything handmade appeals to me….