Case Study: RUPJYOTI SAIKIA GOGOI
Assam’s handloom and textile products are world-renowned for their patterns, designs and authentic hand-made fabrics, especially known for supporting the women from the state. A majority of rural women from Assam depend on it for their livelihood. It was a general practice for women in Assam to pass on the handloom weaving skills to their children with every new generation. Rupjyoti Saikia Gogoi was one such woman who was taught the art of weaving from her mother in Assam. She begun weaving since she was a school-going student and continued it even after many years of her marriage. In 2004, she felt the need to contribute to society and to secure the well-being of women in Assam. So she started an institute that dedicatedly focused on imparting traditional and modern handloom skills and techniques for the rural women of Assam. Based in Kaziranga National Park, her work was also focused on providing livelihood to the families of communities that stayed close to forest fringes.
Her initial enterprise was in a small thatched mud house which later went on to be established as ‘Artistic Traditional Textile’ in Bochagaon-Assam. She gained sucient experience with providing training for women and also begun facilitating them with basic amenities. Her training programs for women artisans was no longer restricted to basic handloom weaving, and it transgressed into design implementation, surface ornamentation and also inducting women with new and modern techniques based on market trends and demands.
Throughout her journey, her husband and family supported her in her ventures towards new found territories of handling commercial production of handloom-based products. Hertraining programs also became part of the Rural Business hub (RBH), a PPP model which is sponsored by Ministry of Panchayat Raj (Government of India). Rupjyoti won the Balipara Foundation Naturenomics™ Award in the year 2015 for her eorts towards improving the livelihood of rural women in Assam.
Her enterprise has helped in providing livelihood to more than 200 women and unemployed youth who received skills and training from her programs.
Her eorts towards popularizing the handloom industry of Assam have benetted rural women, and it has also generated sucient revenue for the Assamese handloom industry.
Her eorts towards providing livelihood to the women of Assam living near the fringes of Kaziranga National Park has helped the local community members to not be directly dependent on the forests and its natural resources.