Dastkar Andhra (DA) initiated its activities in 1989, as an off shoot of Dastkar, Delhi. In 1996 DA was incorporated as a public charitable trust with the objectives of promoting artisan industries suited to ownership by the primary producers.
- To establish viability of Handloom – as Livelihood, as Product and as Technology
- To engage with the weaver, weaver institutions, markets and state in order to work towards a supportive policy process and environment
- To work with producer institutions (co-operatives) that are equitable by design and in operation
- To impact the bargaining power of the weaver both in his immediate context (within co-op and other networks), with the market and the State
- To innovate on handloom markets through developing new models that enable risk-taking
- To promote handloom process and product through workshops, exhibitions, seminars, publications, etc.
Dastkar Andhra’s vision and mission is to sustain handloom weaving as a viable rural livelihood and strengthen handloom industry. The combination of tasks and functions that we perform like interventions in design and technology which are strong field based functions combined with policy, research and advocacy for the industry give us a unique strength combining practice and research.
Policy research & advocacy
Dastkar Andhra’s work on policy issues is directed towards creating an environment that poses a direct challenge to the prevalent articulations of handloom as a “sunset industry”. We collaborate and work with our sister trust Dastkar Andhra Marketing Association, the primary handloom weaver co-operatives, State and the Civil Society.
We started our work directly with the weavers and expanded the scope of our work with the inclusion of co-operatives as our partners. The nature of decentralized production and issues in linking to mainstream distant markets, we believe can be effectively addressed through the institution of co-operatives. These institutions being member-based organizations have the capacity to represent the weaver. The States of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh with some of the other Souther States continue to have a strong co-operative presence in the handloom sector and present a reasonable field of operation.
- To undertake policy assessments (on co-operative reform, yarn supply chain, new policies), with the objective of promoting growth in the industry
- To impact perception of handloom sector in the public domain as the largest generator of non-farm employment in the Indian economy with a potential for growth and equity (through seminars, symposiums, research and writings)
- To strengthen institutions that can carry the industry’s growth (through our work with cooperatives)
- To actively support the needs of the industry and the interests of primary producers through advocacy with the State, with other partner organizations, with primary producer cooperatives and civil society groups.
Understanding the needs of design for the handloom sector from the aspects of production and marketing is one of the main activity of Design programme of Dastkar Andhra. The work involves design development and this is done keeping in mind the nature of the markets, the capacity of the existing technology and the available skill sets of the weavers. Working from the existing base helps us in retaining regional product identities and makes the new designs, production friendly as the process maintains the prevailing counts and techniques. Dastkar Andhra’s sister trust, DAMA, provides the ground for the different explorations in design.
The technology programme plays a critical role in strengthening handlooms by constantly keeping a watch on the strength of the existing networks and assessing the need for technological adaptations. This may be in the area of research and development in chemical dyeing or natural dyeing, encouraging investment in dyeing infrastructures or any other pre-loom or post-loom technologies. Due attention is paid to signals of decline in existing technologies to circumvent the threat they pose to weaving and explore ways to strengthening the networks that support handloom weaving.