About 40 children from Borda and Mahabadia villages located in the outskirts of Bhopal look forward to going to a very special class after school each day – one where they learn a skill to help them earn money for their families. All thanks to Aham Bhumika, a registered NGO in the region, which is training these children in arts and craft, and is selling their products to online.
30 children from the villages come to the crafts class where they are taught paper quilling, jute work and crochet craft with the help of which they make bags, blankets, greeting cards etc. Additionally, there is a class of 10 children dedicated to Gond art.
Aham Bhumika was started five year ago by a Bhopal-resident named Subrat Goswami, who was deeply moved by the condition of poverty and the unorganised situation of education in different villages around his city. He started with a small group of motivated, like-minded people, who came together as volunteers for the betterment of women and children in these two villages. They began by training some interested residents in the famous Gond art form and other craft activities, creating a base of teachers who could then take the lessons forward.
While all the volunteers have full-time jobs, they made time and ensured that they were visiting the villages every weekend.
In collaboration with another NGO in the area, they were able to organise some classes conducted by three very skilled artisans from different regions of state, to teach embroidery to about 35 women.
The main aim of this initiative is to develop a sense of creativity among children and encourage them to learn more art forms so they are able to pursue a career in this field. The NGO began with a group of artists, housewives, engineers, tourist guides, teachers and government employees who were willing to contribute their time.
They sell the products made by the villagers on social media, and the collected amount is given to the artists.
According to Disha Parekh, a volunteer, the artisans make about 80-90 pieces a week, most of which is sold.
Subrat, along with one of the volunteers of Aham Bhumika, is currently raising funds for an improved activity room; to purchase colours, brushes, etc. for the children; to organise art workshops etc. You can contribute here.