“I am independent and don’t have to ask anyone to financially support me. I take care of my own expenses and also support my family” says Usha Gangwal, a woman artisan from Jaipur who’s been associated with the Princess Diya Kumari Foundation (PDKF) for the last seven years. Another beneficiary of the skilling and livelihood programme of the foundation, Antima Jain from Sawai Madhopur shares yet another heartwarming experience: “I have started repaying my debts. My son and daughter have finally resumed their education and I also provide for my family”. She has been working with the Foundation for the last four years.
The philanthropic initiative by Princess Diya Kumari – the PDKF has been striving to empower women and girls across the state of Rajasthan since 2013. Through its various programmes in areas of skill building and livelihood, health and hygiene, financial and digital literacy as well as education and capacity building, the Foundation has gained recognition for its contribution to economic empowerment as well as the overall development of women.
A key part of the foundation’s programme is promoting traditional crafts, allowing women artisans to gain financial independence by helping market and sell their work to a global audience. In an all-new initiative, the Foundation has now launched an online store via their website to showcase the work of the women artisans trained by the PDKF to audiences all over the world. A wide range of products, including apparel for women, men and kids as well as home-ware and accessories, handcrafted by the women artisans will be on offer at the store. An eclectic mélange of trendy and traditional, the collection at the store has been tastefully designed by Princess Gauravi Kumari, the daughter of Princess Diya Kumari and French designer, Claire Deroo. Soon a physical outlet of the PDKF store will also open at the City Palace.
“The PDKF Store through its work aims to give talented women artisans, the resources, skills, and knowledge to help them pave their way to economic and overall empowerment. The PDKF store will not only enhance the brand of PDKF but also engage and help more women in Rajasthan as well as the women across the country by expanding the reach of the Foundation. The collection of the store ranges from garments to accessories to homeware. It features a beautiful amalgamation of the old techniques with modern designs”, says Princess Gauravi Kumari while sharing the objective of the PDKF store.
A contemporary adaptation of long-established Rajasthani patterns, the collection uses ancient techniques handed down from artisan to artisan over the centuries to create modern designs. It features intricate gotapatti embroidery and fine needlework along with Rajasthan’s famous block printing. All these techniques are taught to the foundation’s women artisans at its five centers across the state. This not only provides them with new skills but also makes them self-sufficient, especially in today’s time of the pandemic.
From block-printed and embellished dresses, embroidered t-shirts as well as block-printed tops, skirts, short and long kaftans, gowns, shorts and shirts, women will be spoilt for choice at the PDKF store. For kids, there are frocks, cholis, kimono pyjama sets, bloomers, kurtas as well as Gota Patti toys. In accessories, one can choose from chic bucket hats, scrunchies, hair bows, headbands, and hand-embellished basket bags. Similarly, men can choose from block-printed shirts and embroidered t-shirts. In addition to the apparel, one can find table mats, coasters and cushion covers in the homeware section. These products will also make for interesting souvenirs or memorabilia for tourists visiting Rajasthan.
To explore the collection, log on to www.thepdkfstore.com