MESH designer, K. Syamala and design intern S. Ashok were invited to conduct a workshop with artisans from PAGIR a group based in Leh, Ladakh. For the last couple of years MESH has been providing design and capacity building support to PAGIR, which is an organisation established to promote inclusion for people with disabilities.
Leh is 11,500 feet above sea level, high up in the Himalayas and very cold at this time of the year but Charka, a Delhi based organisation provided money to PAGIR in the hope that MESH could help to scale up the production of small products from tailors’ waste.
The plan was to teach the current product range to more people with disabilities and to recommend some methods to ensure standard production should the products attract a large order (one of MESH’s main buyers Ten Thousand Villages is interested in the hair bands made in PAGIR)
In the event 12 people came for the workshop on the first day and some dropped out along the way but during the ten days seven people learned how to use the sewing machines and make the small range of current products. As they use tailors’ waste in assorted colours and they need to mix and match they had sessions on using the colour wheel to find what colours look good together; maintaining their sewing machine and other equipment; production management and costing and pricing.
The primary tailor was also trained in making some up-cycled products (bracelets from old handbags, “string bags” from T shirts and secret messages from cereal boxes and fabric.)
We have also identified areas where PAGIR still needs training and shall try and find ways to expose this new group to other very successful and well run sewing groups across India.