Project Chhandarang (Hobby Hues) is being conducted since 1995 mainly for the benefit of girls and women coming from low income groups. It is a joint venture of two NGOs, Arbutus Children's Cultural Centre, and the University Women's Association, Pune, India. A fourteen year long cooperation between two NGOs, without entering troubled waters, is in itself a success story!
We teach skills and crafts like sewing, knitting, crochet, embroidery, glass and fabric painting, decoupage, ceramic work, making toys, artificial flowers, greeting cards, bookmarks, candles, jewellery, etc.
This project has gone a long way in enriching the personalities of the participants and at the same time equipping them to earn some money. A large number of girls and women (50-60) are being benefited by this activity every year and many have become proficient in certain skills.
The participants receive some stipend depending on the quality of work that they do. As they EARN while they LEARN, there is enough motivation to do better work. We also give certificates to those who become proficient in certain skills. This helps them to get orders from outside. About 5 to 10 participants take up jobs or start small businesses from their homes and become self-reliant every year.
Mehendi and Rangoli are kinds of decorations typical to the Indian ethos. Those who have acquired these skills get work contracts to decorate the houses and apply Mehendi designs on hands and feet at weddings, poojas, festivals, and other auspicious occasions on showing our certificates.
Some typically ethnic varieties of hand embroidery like kachhi, kashida, bead and mirror work, tie-and-dye (badhani), zardosi, etc. are also areas which are fetching us orders from abroad. This is a great encouragement for both our committee members and also those who actually do work and earn some money.
How Can You Help?
By donating things which are no longer of use to you and are just lying in your homes. For example, things like paper, pens, paint brushes, cloth, needles, scissors, buttons, laces, wool, electric iron, sewing machine etc.
By buying articles like cotton dusters, napkins, embroidered handkerchiefs, bags, mobile pouches, cushion covers etc. made at Chhandarang.
By placing an order for shawls, sweaters, baby woollen garments, and baby cotton wear etc.
By getting your dress material, sarees, table cloths, bed spreads, curtains, cushion covers, sofa backs etc. embroidered or painted in attractive designs.
By getting some of your show-pieces done up for a fresh new look (especially the ceramic pots).
By conducting a workshop / short course in the area of your interest.
By donating some money from which suitable material can be bought to teach the girls and women different arts and crafts or for sponsoring a workshop to empower women.
As a part of this empowerment crusade, Arbutus from time to time also sponsors art and craft workshops and related activities in other organisations.
Arbutus, over the years, has sponsored programmes in organisations like Bharatiya Samaj Seva Kendra, Vidya Vardhini School, Bharat Scouts and Guides, Abhinava Vidyalaya School, and Ahilyadevi High School. A workshop helps share new ideas with other like minded people. Art and Craft workshops are even more joyful as new ideas come alive under the guidance of expert teachers. Learning a new skill is not just helpful in the personality development but can later on turn into supportive income generating activity.
Here is a video of an art workshop, sponsored by Arbutus at the Bharatiya Samaj Seva Kendra, Koregaon Park, Pune. The idea of this workshop was to give direction to children from the lower economic strata of the society and their families to be self-supportive and self-sufficient.
Click on the Play button on the right to view the video. This video shows the art and craft actvities like greeting card making, candle making and use of fabric glue to make decorative articles.