Kasturba Solar Khadi Mahila Samiti is a womenled organization working in the Khadi industry in the tribal and rural belt of Amravati district, Maharashtra.
‘Kasturba’ currently provides sustainable livelihood to nearly 300 village women, by skilling them to operate a network of nearly 250 Solar Charkhas and integrating the backward and forward linkages in the solar-spun yarn production process. 1000 more Solar Charkhas are planned for distribution in the near future under the Mission Solar Charkha Scheme.
The social enterprise is implemented with the kind support and mentorship of Maharashtra State Khadi and Village Industries Board (MSKVIB). To begin with, Kasturba first procures cotton from the farmers and manufactures ‘roving’, the input material for Solar Charkhas. The village women then spin the yarn from it and this yarn in turn is purchased back by Kasturba.
Thereafter, Kasturba supplies the yarn to the weavers to weave fabric in different grades and patterns. This greige fabric is further dyed using natural colours, bleached, or beautiful block-printing and embroidery is done on the fabric, inscribing the indigenous cultural heritage of India in the weave. These fabrics can be marketed either directly or further converted into garments, matching the contemporary fashion tastes and requirements of people at large.
Kasturba strives to sustain a well-connected network of cotton farmers, spinners, weavers, artisans, designers and Solar-Charkha operators at the grassroots level and promotes the use of eco-friendly fabric and garments, tailored to meet the unique climatic conditions the Indian subcontinent and also the fashion conscious consumers in the world at large.
Through this endeavor, we also aim to stop farmer suicides, one of the most distressing agrarian crises in the major cotton growing belt of Vidarbha. Driven by women, Kasturba’s vision includes women empowerment, promotion of khadi use among all, generation of large-scale sustainable employment in villages and improvement of quality of khadi yarn and fabric to make it globally competitive.
Further, Kasturba also strives for upgradation of traditional Charkhas to Solar Charkha. Over the past four years, Kasturba has achieved in-house production capacity to create a wide variety of products, thereby completing the value chain from cotton fibre, to fabric and fashion. The products are marketed under the name of ‘Kasturba’ and ‘Green Fab’. ‘Kutir’ is the chain of stores of our social enterprise to sell products exclusively manufactured using solar energy and environmentally friendly process which supports sustainable development. The flagship store of our enterprise was launched on January 25, 2020 at Ramdaspeth, Nagpur at the hands of the Union Minister of Micro, Small, Medium Enterprises (MSME), Government of India. Your support is crucial for the growth and expansion of this unique initiative. We at Kasturba Solar Khadi Mahila Samiti, Amravati look forward to a long and endearing collaboration with you.