Creating sustainable livelihood opportunities for bamboo artisans of Haldipada

Haldipada Bamboo Works is an initiative of AIACA, which aims to empower bamboo artisans through economic and social development.

Haldipada village is one of the poorest and most isolated Dalit artisans’ villages in the Balasore district of Odisha. The skill of weaving locally available bamboo for making utility baskets from thinly sliced bamboo strips for daily household use existed locally, but was not a source of income. The villagers mostly worked as labourers in menial jobs. Adding to their plight was severe marginalization and the lack of education, infrastructure, and decent livelihood opportunities contributing to the poverty cycle. However, this community had the potential of enjoying sustained and dignified livelihood from bamboo crafts through upskilling, design innovation and direct market linkages.

Our initiative led to organisation of the artisans into Self Help Groups, strengthening of their technical and business skills, design innovation and product diversification, introduction of new tools, and direct linkages to diverse markets including exhibitions and retail orders. Today the artisans earn their livelihood from production of diverse bamboo products; their income is currently three times more than what they used to earn before; they have dignity in their work and they have the aspiration to reach out to national level buyers with their bamboo work.

In the long run, our aim is to ensure their right to an adequate standard of living as full and equal members of society, and to enable them to overcome marginalization.