Follow-up letter from Anthony Watt of Freeset Global on how your generous donations were spent:
“Firstly, thank you for the donation. The money has been moved over and spent. It contributed towards the covid-19 campaign where we provided wages, vaccinations, emergency medical care, education for children missing school and food distribution into our 4 communities, (over 20 tonnes of food!) Thank you for contributing towards this.
Secondly, I am very glad to see the interest you are taking in following this up. It shows a great degree of care.”
Anthony also included a photograph of one of young girls receiving education from Freeset donations. He comments:-
“She is doing so well in school at the moment. She is smashing all the boys in math, which is unheard of here! So she is a bit of a star.”
“Thanks again for your support Shirin.[and to all those who contributed to the fundraiser] It really does mean a lot.”
This talk is an introduction to one story (there are many) of how the ancient arts of weaving and embroidery are being revived amongst the artisans of Gujarat and West Bengal in India. The story is told through my eyes, which were opened on a Traditional Textiles tour to India in 2019.
I joined Joji’s Jacob’s Traditional Textiles of India Tour in October 2019. It was dazzling!
India: drenched in colour, the vibrancy of the people, the fascinating accommodation including the 19th century Itachuna Rajbari in West Bengal, or the luxurious Taj Mahal hotel in Lucknow the Terracotta Temples, the idol makers workshops in Kolkata, the stunning traditional weaving and embroideries, the breath-taking ancient step wells whose stories are carved into the stone walls and pillars. And…the Chambal River ride alive with crocodiles and gharials. All of these will linger long in my memory.
But today, I want to talk about one of the major reasons for my choosing this tour over the many others, that was the social justice emphasis on supporting the revival of the ancient weaving and embroidery arts by the artisans of India, that were almost lost due the deliberate, brutal repressive policies of the British East India Company and later the British Raj.