LIVING LOOMS OF INDIA
Indian handlooms essay the finest artisanal workmanship, ranging from Ikats to Patolas, Banarasi brocades to the ornate Kanjeevarams, from Kalamkaris to the flowing Kota Dorias, and many more. This timeless craft is an exemplary reminder of our freedom struggle, our insistence on self-sustenance & providing women an additional source of livelihood.
Living Looms of India is an endeavour to breathe life into the heritage craft of handlooms, revive and revitalise its traditional glory of the past. It endeavours to give weavers and artisans a niche, and carve a competitive edge for them on a multitude of selling platforms. Its aim is supporting weaving communities and artisans, and bringing alive a vision.
Living looms of India (LLI) is an ACCESS initiative to bring this exquisite craftsmanship to centerstage and ensure weavers get value for their work. LLI is an community led enterprise that will enable customers to buy directly from the weavers thus directly enhancing thousands of livelihoods.
Handloom industry is the largest cottage industry in the country. The sector is very important from the point of view of its size and employment potential. It is still India’s second largest economic activity after agriculture and provides employment to around 90 million people. There are about 3.5 million looms in India, contributing about 7 % to the country’s GDP. The potential of the handloom sector is immense - in terms of credit formation in rural areas and livelihoods creation and in terms of domestic sales and exports. And, importantly, promoting and revitalizing the handloom sector will help to preserve the incredible skills of handloom weavers across the country.
As a part of its 3rd Long Term Strategic Plan (2016 to 2021), given the agriculture distress all across the country, under the banner of Living Looms of India, ACCESS is focusing on revitalizing the handloom sector.
During this Plan period, ACCESS plans to adopt 20 handloom clusters across the country, and work with all the actors within the ecosystem - spinners, weavers, dyers, tailors. et al and through a clutch of integrated intertwined interventions, transform theses clusters into dynamic economic microcosms.
As a part of this new initiative, ACCESS has received some early breakthroughs. While with support from SIDBI, ACCESS has completed a successful intervention with 500 weavers in Bhagalpur; it is currently implementing a major programme in Majuli Island in Assam with 1000 weavers, supported by Govt. of Assam (Assam Livelihoods Mission), and in Maheshwar (Madhya Pradesh) and Kota (Rajasthan) with 700 weavers, supported by HSBC. Recently, two new clusters- one each in Odisha and West Bengal have been added to this list with support from HSBC.
The strategy to revitalize these handloom clusters is essentially market-based, responding to the three critical challenges that the handloom clusters face across the board, viz. the need to adopt and integrate new technology, infusion of new designs and product diversiﬁcation and high value market linkages. As a part of this plan, a pan India weaver owned company in the name of Living Looms of India has also been initiated. The company is owned and managed by the weavers themselves.
ACCESS Development Services is a national livelihoods support organization focusing on incubating innovations for sustainable livelihoods of the poor. ACCESS was set up in March 2006, with support from DFID (Govt. of UK). to work at all levels of the development sector value chain and implement various livelihood programmes.
ACCESS works with Civil Society Organizations, Government Departments, Corporate Sector and Multilateral/Bilateral Agencies to improve and enhance their program implementation and undertake a few national initiatives.
To create a sustainable impact, ACCESS pursues a 3-tier approach to strengthen and support the livelihoods sector and implements several dynamic initiatives.