The project was a brainchild of the late Belagavi artist, Kunda Kirloskar, a student of the legendary S.L Haldankar. She wanted to use her art to empower women by making them financially independent.
Carried forward by her daughters, the project runs a skills-based training programme to equip women with tailoring skills so that they can start their own businesses from home – a kind of business model that is very pertinent in these difficult Covid-19 times.
The workshops give them training on creating Kundakala products such as scarves, cushion covers, tea towels, and aprons. Participants are also provided with information and guidance on starting their own business and if the products they make pass quality control, Kundakala becomes their first client.
Late Kunda Kirloskar, was one of the most independent women. She was an accomplished classical sitarist; played badminton to a high level; repaired cameras in her father’s shop and won medals for her art. Kunda was unconventional: she married in her mid-thirties, at a time when it was usual for a woman to settle down with a life partner at twenty. After marriage she retained her independent streak in spite of slipping into the role of a homemaker and giving up most of her pursuits, notably her art. She did the accounts for the family business; settled disputes amongst sta; and helped in the education of children of deprived families.
Kunda always noted that women who worked as domestic help in India were often sole breadwinners, lacking in self-condence and having to compromise their independence. In the later years of her life, she picked up her art brush again and decided to use it to do something about this situation.
This is how Kundakala was born – a cooperative selling Kunda’s art on products such as scarves, coasters and prints. As per her wishes, it is partly owned and run by Vimal and Renuka, two women who used to work for her. Recently, Vimal and Renuka have decided to add another product to the list – Kunda’s home made masalas made to her exact measurements and recipes. Children and Kunda’s beloved grandchildren are fully invested in this enterprise. Their firrst goal is to full Kunda’s vision of empowering Vimal and Renuka. We hope this will cede a chain reaction to support more women in the community.
Kundakala runs tailoring workshops in Belagavi, India, and London for unemployed women equipping them with the skills needed to make Kundakala products.
The workshops are run by professional tailors and at the end of the programme, participants are taught to make our products like aprons, cushion covers, tea towels and scarves.
The women are also given subsequent guidance on starting their own tailoring business from home and if the products they make during the workshops pass quality control, Kundakala becomes their first client.
How you can help
- Donate CASH to help acquire printed material, tailoring professionals and venues for workshops
- Donate old SEWING machines
- Donate your TIME to help market the products and fundraise for the Kundakala Project
- Buy our current Kundakala products