Resham Sutra since its inception helps rural silk yarn producers and fabric weavers of our country by installing higher productivity yielding machines and increasing their income. Founded in 2016, it helps them by reducing physical activity, struggle and mental stress.
With an apt motto and tagline – "Making machines that bring happiness", Resham Sutra has developed a wide range of affordable electric reeling, weaving and spinning machines – most of them powered by solar energy – that vastly contribute towards improving the working conditions and in creating a predictable and dramatically higher income for over 10,000 silk workers in India.
Painful Process Of Thigh Reeling
When Kunal Vaid, a social entrepreneur, was pained by the extreme agony and struggle that rural women had to go through to make Tassar Silk yarn through the process of 'thigh reeling'. Kunal saw that the women indulged in thigh reeling had got cuts all over their skin and suffered from backaches and joint pains; moreover, and people socially looked down upon their work.
Vaid strongly felt that he must do something for these rural women to free them from the shameful process of thigh reeling. He firmly believed that there has to be a better way to do their job in today's age of advanced technology.
With that in mind, he started working on making a machine that would provide these women better productivity, better quality and free them from the painful and shameful processes of 'thigh reeling'. While this machine-making initially started as a personal passion or hobby project for Kunal, it blossomed into the foundation of his enterprise Resham Sutra 5 years later.
The mission and vision for the organization are to enable India's rural entrepreneurs to profitably produce and market a variety of silk and handloom products with the aid of networks and technology. Besides, the enterprise facilitates the creation of sustainable employment in rural areas to reduce poverty. It focuses on empowering the rural population -- especially women -- through a plethora of self-employment opportunities in reeling, spinning, and weaving. Their team works on the belief that there can be an alternative model of growth that does not leave anyone behind. It wants to showcase that overall rural development can be done sustainably and profitably through business models, technology, and marketing innovations.
Focusing On Activities In The Poorest Regions Of The Country
Resham Sutra is focusing its activities with and for the rural beneficiaries in some of the poorest regions in the country; these activities mainly include silk cocoon rearing with tribals in forest areas of Jharkhand other states, silk yarn spinning and reeling with rural women in Jharkhand, Orissa, Chattisgarh and other states. Handloom weaving with traditional hand weavers in various Eastern and North-Eastern states of India is also one of the many activities.
The startup has won the prestigious Ashden Award (UK) for "powering rural businesses" and the ISHOW award by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers. It was also chosen as one of the 'Top 10 startups in Agri-Tech' by the National Startup Mission, Government of India, in 2020. The organization innovations have impacted over 12,000 families by improving their productivity and income through the enterprise's machines. Their beneficiaries have become self-employed and have a regular source of sustainable income. This is in contrast to the previously existing scenario of the beneficiaries, where they were, at best, daily wage earners with irregular and seasonal jobs.
The significant improvement in the quality of work, which was once hazardous and involved low-value outdoor work, to dignified and creative work in the present day is noteworthy. The enterprise encourages and supports holistic lifestyle improvements for the beneficiaries, including giving them access to better healthcare, education for children, and gadgets like solar lighting. Additionally, Resham Sutra has set up several Rural Experience Centres or RECs in major rural clusters; these Centres provide complete buying support to customers, including product demonstrations, test runs, financing support, and after-sales training and technical support. The RECs also support producers in villages to do value-addition of making yarn and fabric within their communities using locally available raw material and further provide support for marketing and sales of the products.
In the times to come, the organization will continue to create sustainable livelihoods for rural poor by providing them healthy farm and non-farm-based employment options, leading to diversification of income sources for them and cushioning them from agrarian crisis. As most of the enterprise's beneficiaries are women, the enterprise intends to engage with them to create conducive working conditions and empower them economically.