Climate change, caused in a large part by the actions of industries and consumers across the world, is destroying the subsistence of rural tribes in far-ranging areas such as Meghalaya, in the north-east corner of India.
Decreasing precipitation and raising temperatures are making it impossible to continue agricultural activities as usual, and so to prevent further migration into India’s overcrowded cities it is essential to create new opportunities for these communities to earn a sustainable living.
An important opportunity is silk-rearing, which has been practiced by women in the area for centuries. An increase in silk-rearing along with a growing market for natural silk in Europe can help current and future generations of women to earn a living.
This goal can be reached with the help of training, the introduction of efficient working practices and new handcraft technology, building-up a community of producers and continuous consulting to ensure successful development. The objective is the empowerment to manufacture consistently high-quality products in larger quantities, that meet the needs of the European market.
Seidentraum, a sustainable silk supplier that has been showcased in the Future Fabrics Expo since its inception in 2011, is seeking support to help make this happen.
Meghalaya is a wonderful but poor area in the north-east corner of India, at the foot of the Himalayas, with approximately 12.5% of inhabitants living below the poverty line. Traditionally, the people of Meghalaya have practiced organic rice farming and fish breeding, as well as harvesting fruit and vegetables, pursuing farming and handcrafts in accordance with nature.
The promotion of traditional peace silk manufacturing offers new and sustainable subsistence opportunity. Meghalaya is optimally suited to the increase of eri silk rearing, where no silk worm is killed for silk fibre production, but instead only empty cocoons are utilized for making yarn.
To be successful, it’s necessary to improve the quality of the silk yarn and fabrics, by providing training for farmers, spinners, and weavers. By increasing demand for eri silk, the handcrafters will be able to work regularly, thereby continually improving skills and product quality, ensuring traditional handcrafts and techniques are not forgotten.
Seidentraum are working on a 2.5 year project in collaboration with the German Association for International Collaboration and the Government of Meghalaya, to support product development, offer consulting in quality and design, and help build the market. Developments include ensuring workers health is better protected, by replacing floor looms with Flying-8 looms to remove back stress. This new equipment is cheap and easy to build, but can have an immeasurable impact on the community.
Seidentraum are seeking support for this initiative, to enable the provision of spinning wheels, materials to make Flying-8 looms, training, and participation at trade fairs. If you would like to find out more or support the project, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can find a range of Seidentraum organic and peace silk fabrics on our online sourcing tool www.futurefabricsvirtualexpo.com, along with further information about how they are working to create a more sustainable silk industry.