We are startup that works closely with craftsmen from Dharavi, Mumbai (India). Dharavi being one of the biggest markets of leather goods in India was an ideal place to execute our startup idea as we working towards streamlining the leather market of India which is highly unorganised. During our journey of training and working with these leather craftsmen we realised that their working condition is quite awful and living conditions are inferior as they have large families with an average of 6-8 members living in "Chawls" which has a size not more than 125-150 sq. fts. Per house. These craftsmen have sufficient skill, however, due to less to negligible exposure, they are forced to work for small vendors present within Dharavi.
Chawls in Dharavi
Oftentimes, these craftsmen are paid according to the unit of products manufactured (often during off-seasons when the demand for leather goods is less) and are hired for a temporary period during business months (mostly during winters, the reason being the increase in demands of leather goods). These craftsmen hail from backward cities in India and they barely had any exposure to proper education. Hence, they are compelled to migrate to metro cities where most of the leather manufacturers are based. Due to their irregular payment cycles and seasonal employment, they barely make enough to support their large family and because of this their children never get exposure to even basic education and mostly end up getting involved in learning craftsmanship at an early stage. Since these craftsmen also never received any formal education, it is difficult for them to teach their kids at home either. These craftsmen have the desire of educating their children, but unfortunately, they do not have sufficient money to support this “privilege”.
I, as the founder of my startup, interact with these children more often and I realized that they have a lot of potential if they are provided proper education. I feel pity when I see them going out and buying raw materials to manufacture a leather product and this is their contribution to helping their parents with their seasonal business while their parents struggle to make a living. At this stage, these kids should be enjoying their school-life and childhood, but they are obliged to support their parents. In addition to that, the workplace where their parents work is also pathetic which ultimately affects the health of these children as they have to visit there more often.
We, as a business, would like to support these craftsmen by providing proper education to their children. While we are trying our best to support them for this cause by providing regular orders (& hence, regular income and better profit margins on each product) this is not sufficient as we are currently at expansion phase in our business. We are a startup and we have limited finances to allocate for this cause, hence we'd your support in this cause. We want to reach the initial milestone of enrolling 10 children in schools. We have 15 craftsmen on-board who work with us throughout the year and each has an average 3-4 kids in their family. We’d like to begin with 10 kids of our vendors and we will slowly enroll other kids too. We have the burning desire to support most of them as regardless of whether they work with us or not, they are indirectly helping our business in functioning. We would appreciate your contribution to achieving milestones of our cause that has been fuelled with the super-burning desire of providing them proper education and making their parents skilled.