Saturday, March 29, 2014

Leatherworkers face Land Challenge

In our previous post we talked about our February visit to the weavers of the Artisan's Alliance of Jawaja (AAJ). Shortly after that we received a visit from the leatherworkers who got on a bus and came to visit us at our studio in India. The problem they outlined is this.

The Jawaja cooperative works in a village near Bearwar, Rajasthan. The preparation of hides and the tanning process is done inside the village.

Stitching the hides in preparation for the tanning process.
De-haired hides are tanned, Jawaja 2002.
This process can be a smelly one. As the surrounding settlements have moved closer to Jawaja's village, landowners who hope to develop and sell properties have complained about the smell. The government has responded by sending notice to the artisans telling them to either stop the process or to relocate it to industrial land.

Members of AAJ have pooled their resources and purchased five acres of land next to their "go-down" (warehouse). This is the warehouse that houses our visits each time we meet the artisans.

Artisans Alliance of Jawaja meeting Maiwa inside their "go down", 2011.
With the land purchased, the co-operative has no funds left to build the necessary facilities. The group visited Maiwa and made an appeal for help. They need to construct cement tanks and drill a bore-well. The group hopes that by completing the work quickly they will not need to stop production.

The Maiwa Foundation will be sending out a direct appeal for this project. If you would like to help, please visit our donation page here: http://www.maiwa.com/home/books/foundation/index.html

The construction of new tanks comes at a good time. Students in the Applied Science 263 course at the University of British Columbia, have looked at alternative de-hair processes for the artisans. We will provide more information about that collaboration and an update on some of the projects APSC 263 has been involved with in a future post.

More information about the Maiwa Foundation can be found on our site.

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