COMMITMENT TO KASHMIR


Written and Contributed by

Commitment to Kashmir
New Delhi, India

Contact

ctok.delhi@gmail.com

CtoK’s theory of change provides innovative and holistic hands-on support to a new young generation of Kashmiri craftspeople; helping them infuse traditional craft practices by creating sustainable networks that are resilient to market conditions.

What is the project about?

Due to the conflicting nature of the territory, the youth of Kashmir are living through curfews, unemployment and uncertainty. The political situation has decentralised the markets with restricted access to opportunities, development and funds. In such despair, CtoK is building hope through an inclusive livelihood program based on skill development and craft entrepreneurship in the Valley.

By establishing raw material linkages both in and outside the state, investing in machinery for increased productivity, charting out logistics, working on pricing strategies, building new marketing links, and creating opportunities to collaborate and work in multi-craft teams, CtoK ascertains a complete cycle of design and business intervention with craftspersons to expand their capacities, have a market and consumer-driven approach, move out of the local market, look outside the state as a viable retail point.

The consistent engagement of design mentors and artisans has helped build immense confidence in the latter; they now view themselves as businessmen and businesswomen with capacity and not just craftspeople at a disadvantage.

Project Funded by

CtoK projects were initially carried out in partnership with and support from
Infosys Foundation,
Recaero India Pvt. Ltd,
Aditya Birla Group,
Jubilant Group,
Population Foundation of India,
and several individual donations.

In 2017 CtoK, with the support from Titan Industries, expanded scale as well as impact. They have been instrumental in accelerating our impact.

Stakeholders Involved

Institutions such as Dastkar provided the much needed administrative backing to the project and CDI.

NIFT, Delhi and Srishti supported us by providing their resources and inputs for building market-based technical and business skills amongst the artisan entrepreneurs.

The collaboration between the design mentors and the artisans is at the heart of the project.

What is the impact?

Commitment to Kashmir (CtoK), a Trust which has been working exclusively in Kashmir since 2011, has given grants and mentorship to 33 young artisans to date, both men and women. They, in turn, give work to approximately 850 craftspeople.

Over the 9 years, CtoK has created over 1200 new market-driven products and developed up to 20 direct market linkages to artisan entrepreneurs.

CtoK’s focus on a 360-degree capacity-building methodology to build artisan and enterprise development has manifested a market-driven approach amongst the artisans resulting in enhanced artisanal income-generating capacities and empowered entrepreneurship and leadership in craft sectors.

CtoK emphasis on innovation and design thinking has revolutionized the design and market dynamics for 2 craft skills – Namda wool craft and Papier Mache Sakhta, thereby reviving a languishing craft and giving an identity to a hidden community, and supporting them to explore contemporary design and product forms.

CtoK’s work also contributes to the revival of art and crafts in Kashmir, by increasing its value in the state’s economy, reducing exploitation from middlemen, and making it a gainful profession for young artisans. This, in turn, has contributed to improving their confidence and faith in their traditional hand skills.

A key impact of our work is that through the entrepreneurs that we incubate, we are able to have a multiplier effect on employment, wages of the artisans and revenue of the enterprise. The initial entrepreneurs that we have incubated – the enterprises have shown a 3-4 fold growth in revenue, a 2-3 times growth in employment and have been able to provide regular wages. The revenue of about 6 of our enterprises is almost 2 crores collectively  (pre-COVID).


Gallery:
Images by CtoK | © all rights reserved


Links to read more:

Youtube Channel

About Commitment to Kashmir:

With its organic structure, CtoK changes shape from being a development agency to a business school to a laboratory for experimentation to a support system and a whole lot more.

CtoK is a platform that provides encouraging space and tools to experiment with new ideas and take them forward. It is a platform for nurturing talent.