Today, nine editions down the line, Sankalp can be proud of its family of more than 500 women who have benefited directly or indirectly through its events.
Six years back, on a rainy October afternoon, three enthusiastic minds pored over the possibility of organizing an exhibition in Palakkad through which a platform could be provided for women to display and sell their products. Thus was born, Sankalp, which literally translates to ‘determination’ or ‘resolution’ in Sanskrit. Today, nine editions down the line, Sankalp can be proud of its family of more than 500 women who have benefited directly or indirectly through its events.
The recently concluded Sankalp ‘Crafts’n Weaves’ Edition 9 at Kochi, was an exhibition with much gusto, with 52 stalls and the active participation of more than 70 women. It was sheer energy as young, enthusiastic women joined hands in creating a beautiful space filled not just with colourful garments, jewellery, lifestyle accessories, gift items, greenery, and home-made food, but also a lot of positive energy, happiness, laughter, mutual trust, understanding and a whole lot of love. I personally feel this is what Sankalp is all about.
What I look forward the most in these events is the fact that I get to meet a whole lot of talented and creative women, which actually humbles me no end. I have had ladies who manage their household single handedly while at the same time, devote time and energy to their various passions which brings not just emotional satisfaction, but also economic independence too. Like as in all the Sankalp events, the recently concluded Kochi exhibition too had beautiful creations ranging from handmade jewellery, designer garments, gift items, art and craft products, hand embroidery, crochet, food products like cakes, cookies, pickles, jams and condiments, which vied with one another to grab the attention of the potential customers who walked in.
The highlight of the event were a few products which actually deserve a special mention. Two very creative and beautiful ladies had brought in a collection of terrariums, which are basically plants grown in glass containers that could be kept indoors. Very pretty and captivating, these bits of greenery was sure to add beauty to any space. There was also this organization which worked towards the betterment of women belonging to the coastal areas of Kerala. They helped them eke out a livelihood by teaching them to make bags and other lifestyle accessories from Screw Pine and Water Hyacinth. They find buyers for these products, and the proceeds are passed on to their creators. Similarly, an enterprising lady made use of her talent of crocheting by teaching underprivileged women this craft. She, along with a few like-minded well-wishers, organizes them into groups and helps to market and sell the beautiful crocheted creations, thus enabling these women to lead economically independent lives.
Apart from these groups, there were a lot of talented and enterprising women who made the event colourful with their collection of exclusive sarees, Salwar Khameez, Kurtis, Stoles, Dupattas, etc. The best part was that even though there were a wide range of garments, no two stalls had similar products. The same went for handmade jewellery made from beads, paper, terracotta, and metal. Trendy and chic, these could compliment just about any outfit.
Home furnishing was another area which saw participation in the Sankalp Kochi event. Bedsheets and cushion covers are products which are available in just any commercial outlet. But a few of our talented participants thought differently and came up with designer sheets which were simply awesome. Appliqué work, hand painting and embroidery adorned these sheets that could undoubtedly accentuate the beauty of any bedroom.
Sankalp, for me, is a huge learning experience. Each and every participant of this event is unique in their own means, and contributes a lot to the success of this event in their own special manner. Some are highly skilled in marketing, while some others are very effective communicators. It is a pleasure to watch these total amateurs interact proficiently with customers. Most of these participants enter the venue for the first time, unsure and sceptical, but by the end of two days, they are richer not just in terms of sales, but also in heightened confidence levels that lead to a sense of wholesome positivity.
Sankalp does carry a tagline which says ‘saluting women power’, but that doesn’t mean that men have no role to play in this event. I keep seeing a lot of supportive husbands, fathers, brothers, and sons who accompany these women participants and help them achieve their dreams. Our own team consists of a lot of young men who help in organizing Sankalp effectively, efficiently, and enthusiastically.
And as for me, the best returns I get out of organizing the Sankalp exhibition is undoubtedly the innumerable contacts and friendships that I have made in the course of these exhibitions, some of which have blossomed into wholesome bonds that I am sure, will stand the test of time.
Colourful hand made sindoor boxes
aromatic oil infused with herbs
A miniature terrarium
crocheted pretty booties
Homemade jams and a handmade clock
handmade photo frames, boxes, and Christmas decorations
pretty terracota jhumkas and a necklace
Eco friendly bags made out of screw pine
yummy cup cakes