A tiny hamlet of around 30 huts in MP, about 50 Kms from Maihar MP, there lies a village of sheep and cattle herders called Soolkaama. A visit to this village is one of the first reasons why the founder of Soolkaama decided to do something about rural crafts in India. Every household here is involved in weaving rugs made of sheep wool. Organic, hand made, exquisite rugs. Sold for Rs. 400 a piece to customers in adjoining villages.
Soolkaama, the village, has no external intervention of any kind. They have no access to a marketplace. Their culture and artistic history is beautifully preserved in these hand-made rugs. The youth are not interested, as 400Rs for something that takes 10 days to make is, understandably, not a worthwhile effort. Most of the young men from the village work menial jobs in Maihar.
At Soolkaama, with minimal intervention and by documenting the craft and telling the story about the weavers, we were able to sell the products at a premium of Rs. 2000. Although not a perfect case study for Soolkaama, the positive take aways from this project gave us the purpose to do what we do today.