Tag Archives: Saath Livelihood Services

The craft roots of Tangaliya

This weekend (24th – 26th of March) a Craftroots exhibition will be held at Rajpath Club, Ahmedabad. (View invitation here: e-invitation-craftroots). Rweaves will be present at this exhibition, with a variety of Tangaliya, Patola, Khadi and Best-out-of-Waste products! To warm you up for this event, we’d like to give you some background information about Tangaliya.

Tangaliya is a weaving art native to the Dangashiya community of Surendranagar, Gujarat. The Dangashiya community is a mixed community of weavers and shepherds (Bharwad). The weavers made blankets and shawls out of sheep and goat wool for the shepherds to wear. They developed a special technique of weaving, also known as Dana work, only known to the Dangashiya community. Tiny dots of extra weft are twisted around a number of warp threads, giving an effect of bead embroidery to the fabric. This intricate process of twisting extra weft while weaving creates beautiful geometrical patterns and forms.

Tangaliya is woven on a pitloom: a small ans simple loom that is installed in a pit. The loom is operated by two footpedals (in the pit), leaving the hands of the weaver free for the dana-work. Traditionally, a tangaliya shawl is about 10 feet long and 4 feet wide. Shepherds wear it in the fields and their women wear It over a petticoat on special occasions. A traditional pitloom is 2 feet wide. To make a traditional shawl, a 20 feet long piece of fabric is cut in two and then the sides are stitched together.

Nowadays Tangaliya work is made in fine cotton and is used for a wide range of other products. Rweaves helps the artisans from SUVAS* to brand their products and to make contemporary designs to ensure them of a sustainable livelihoods.  Recently Tangaliya obtained the GI tag (Geographical Indication), confirming  the uniqueness of this weaving art.

If you want to see how Tangaliya is made, please visit Rweaves at the Craftroots exhibition. A loom will be installed and you can watch the artisans perform their weaving skills.

* SUVAS is a federation of rural artisans from Surendranagar, Gujarat. SUVAS is promoted by the National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT), Gandhinagar, in association with Saath Livelihood Services and CARE India.

Picture Time Saturdays: Urmila at Work

Urmila is Saath’s home-managers programme excecuted in co-operation with Empower Pragati. Women are trained to deliver home-management services to urban households. Services include child-care, patient-care, cleaning, cooking The formula addresses two needs:

1. the need for decent livelihood options for underprivileged women from slum-areas, and
2. the need for reliable and high-quality domestic services for urban households.

For hiring, training or general information, contact us through the Empower website.

Charity Tuesdays: Sagar’s story

Here’s a story from a faithful well-wisher of the organization, Sagar Patel. He worked for Saath as a volunteer for two months in 2010. Since then he became a regular online-donor. Read about his experience and motives below.

Sagar (center) at an Umeed center.

My name is Sagar Patel. I was an Ambassador Corps fellow from the Global Center for Social Entrepreneurship at my university in Caliornia in the United States for 2 months in 2010. I am a regular donor to Saath and wanted to describe my experience with Saath.

Volunteering at Saath was a phenomenal experience. I worked for the Umeed youth employability program, helping with the evaluation of the English language portion from the curriculum. I spent a lot of time interviewing faculty members at the Umeed centers and visiting a few English classes as part of my research. I helped teach the English class as a guest lecturer a few times at the Khadia Umeed center. I was very impressed by this program which trained slum youth for employment in entry level jobs in the service sector. It addressed a great need of the modern economy of India, and proved that these youth could contribute to society when given the opportunity.

I had the opportunity to visit all the urban programs in Ahmedabad and some of the rural programs in Dholka during orientation. One of the aspects of Saath which is unique is how integrated all of the programs are in its approach to development. For example, a single family may use multiple programs like the urban resource center, balghar (preschool), microfinance, and Umeed (livelihood training). In addition, Saath had developed a couple of very unique programs including home manager and the urban resource center which had not previously been developed anywhere else.
I saw firsthand the vast impact that the various programs have had on people living in the urban slums as well as rural areas. For example, I saw slum areas which had been completely transformed by the slum networking project where residents had access to all basic resources like metered electricity, housing, sanitation, and paved roads.

From the perspective of a donor, I like Saath’s social business model. It is more efficient than many charities because many of the programs are self-sustainable and don’t require donations or government funding after a certain point. The money donated can be recycled and go much further than in an organization which relies entirely on donations and government aid for income. Service users have to pay a fee for most services at Saath. Instead of giving handouts of food, clothes, and other basic necessities, Saath empowers people to be able to earn or borrow money and access basic resources. I feel that this type of community based development will help to reduce the problems of inequality in Indian society.

I have regularly donated to Saath using the globalgiving.org website. I have received in-depth and regular updates about the impact of my donations in Umeed as well as Child Friendly Spaces from the Research and Documentation Cell at Saath. It is nice to see such thoughtful effort put into documentation. When I made my first donation, I received a sweet message from Keren Nazareth (executive director) saying that I could meet with the children that I was helping the next time I come to Ahmedabad. I would like to thank everyone at Saath for all the hard work they’re doing to improve society and encourage others to support the noble work of Saath!

Picture Time Saturdays: Weaving Patola

A woman preparing silk threads for Patola weaving in Kataria Village, Surendranagar. This woman and her family are a member of the Rweaves programme intiated by Saath and SUVAS, a federation of artisans from Surendranagar. Rweaves supports rural artisan communities, offers a marketing platform for local artisans and prevents ancient weaving arts from extinction.

For more information about Rweaves, download the brochure by clicking here.

Launching Rweaves!

Saath has been working with Patola, Tangaliya and cotton weaving artisans from Surendranagar since 2006 through the Snehal project supported by CARE India. The project ended in 2009 and through it, a Federation was set up of the artisans. Today the artisans have better linkages to raw materials and can purchase them at an affordable rate from the Raw material banks set up through the Self Help Groups. However, marketing is still a problem for these artisans. Most of them have to individually seek out retailers and wholesalers who will sell their product, or if they are lucky individual buyers seek them out.

What is R-weaves?

After 4 years of working with artisans along with NIFT in improving their access to affordable credit and developing contemporary designs for more marketable products, Saath has recognised a need to link artisans to markets and also to increase their profits by developing a marketing and retail outlet in Ahmedabad for sale of Tangaliya, Patola and Cotton products.


Patola is a weave, the raw material used for patolas is traditionally silk. In comparison this Patola is from Patan in Gujarat. However the Patola that we refer to here is the one from Surendranagar district. It is a single ikat (Ikat is the Indonesian word that means knot). Weaving these products is an intensive process that include the entire family from dyeing of the silk threads, marking the design and then the weaving. A saree takes approximately 10-12 days to complete from the very first process of spinning the silk onto a spindle.

The products in Patola have been diversified from traditional sarees to stoles, scarves, cushion covers. Similarly more contemporary designs have been introduced along with the traditional patola weave.


A product of the Dangasiya community in Surendranagar District, the name originates from the cloth worn traditionally by the Bharwad community’s men (herdsmen), until very recently where it was adapted to the design of the weave, which is unique and labour intensive. Every dot in the design is made by the artisan wrapping yarn around a number of threads, which brings out the design on both sides.

Earlier only wool was used in making products especially shawls, and dhaablas (blankets), this has been expanded to using cotton and making products such as kurti materials, dupattas, cushion covers, napkins, coatis etc.

Best out of Waste

India has always been a land of making the most out of a resource and in a similar effort families in Surendranagar use old sarees to fashion foot mats, rugs, runners, and asans (long mats for seating diners traditionally). This innovation helps use old synthetic sarees and also supports entire families through the income earned.

Hand woven Cotton

In the land of Gandhi, where large machines today manufacture miles of yarn, there are still a few families that weave cotton on wooden looms preparing a blend of soft designs of this cool fabric. The material is sold by the metre, but one can also find sheets and curtains of these.

The Exhibition-Sale will be held:

Date: 6th—8th Aug 2010 (Friday-Sunday)

Time: 11:00 a.m. to 6: 00 p.m.

Venue: “Shree Ramdev Villa”, 1 – A, Aagman Row Houses, Nr. Satatya Heights, Prernatirth Derasar Road Jodhpur Gam,

Ahmedabad – 380 015