- Explorer Moments
Turning an Ancient Form of Art Into New Income
Chanda Schroff saw how hand-embroidered silk and cotten, a source of local pride in remote India, could generate income for scores of women.
Over 45 years ago, Chanda Shroff was part of a volunteer drought relief mission in India’s isolated northwestern Gujarat state, which had suffered a half decade of drought.
Many local villagers in the state’s Kutch district were near starvation but, staying true to cultural tradition, refused donations or free food. Shroff couldn’t convince them to take handouts.
Then she found herself marveling at the unique, intricate beauty of local Kutch hand embroidery, a skill that had been handed down from mother to daughter for centuries. Shroff, who had a teaching diploma in craftmaking, thought she could help empower artisans by helping them turn items for personal use and home decoration into marketable, income-generating fashion products.
Shroff bought 30 saris and sought