Delhi, 24 Sep : colourful and exclusive exhibition of traditional Bhagalpur Silk Sarees, Stoles, Dupattas and Dress Material "SEWA Silk Bazaar" is organized by SEWA BHARAT at Hansiba, Rajiv Gandhi Handicraft Gallery no-5, Connaught Place, New Delhi from 23rd Sept to 27th Sept 2008.
The exhibition was inaugurated by Renana Jhabwala (President, SEWA Bharat). On this occasion Sanjay Kumar (Coordinator, Sewa), Sharmishta (Programme Coordinator) and many other Sewa workers were present there. The Silk Bazaar is being organized to provide sustainable livelihood support to women workers involved in home based silk weaving in Bhagalpur.
SEWA BHARAT is a National Federation of SEWA organizations with the mandate to highlight the issues of women working in the informal sector, and works towards strengthening the capacity of its constituents such as SEWA Bhagalpur.
Self Employed Women’s Association (SEWA), a women’s trade union that was started in Gujarat in 1972 with the aim of organising women in the informal sector. SEWA represents the convergence of three movements: labour, women and cooperative. In the year 2007, with approximately 12 lakh women members, SEWA is India’s largest membership-based organization for women working in the informal sector.
Based on the philosophy of Mahatma Gandhi, SEWA’s goal is to achieve full employment and self-reliance for all its members. Full employment is employment that provides work security, income security, food security and social security; and self-reliance refers to economic self–sufficiency and equitable roles in the decision-making process. These goals are achieved through a strategy of “struggle and development”. The struggle is against the many constraints imposed on women by the society and the economy, and the development activities are to strengthen women’s collective bargaining power and provide them with new sustainable alternatives.
SEWA Bhagalpur was found in 1982, with the support of SEWA Bharat. SEWA Bhagalpur initially started working with self-help groups. However, it has since grown and diversified its work significantly, with a current membership of over 11,000 women workers. These women are engaged in various activities in the unorganised sector. A large number of SEWA members are involved in silk based weaving.
Bhagalpur is well known for silk production. The weavers belong to the muslim community. There is a great demand for these fabrics both in India and abroad. SEWA Bhagalpur has been working with women in the area for over a decade. The Bhagalpur riots did dampen this rich activity to some extent. In an attempt to revive its activities in the region, SEWA Bhagalpur has been providing inputs in organizing groups, design development and marketing opportunities to various groups of weavers since 2005.
This exhibition provides an opportunity to the women weavers of Bhagalpur to show their talent, skill and resilience. The Silk Bazaar represents colour, tradition and exclusivity that these women are living with.