Charitable Trust

Village Ways Charitable Trust works in partnership with remote Indian villages to develop and manage a unique kind of ethical and responsible development model since 2008. Working with skilled and underexposed villagers, the Trust encourages them by elevating local handicrafts through market linkages, community development, and healthy living practices.

Supi, a remote hill village, lies tucked away in the mighty Himalayan ranges of Uttarakhand, India. Albeit simple and serene, its untouched beauty also reflects the lack of awareness and exposure opportunities, stemming from its remoteness and in certain cases, poverty. With no concrete linking it to the nearest town, neither did the village have ease of access to entitled health amenities by the government, nor were most villagers aware of them. Trust joined BSR’s (Business for Social Responsibility) HERnetwork program in 2014, to conduct a pilot health project at Supi village with the focus to empower women through health knowledge and link the village with adequate health amenities. Around 900 women and 900 men have been directly impacted through this initiative. The project is now expanding to seven more villages around Supi.

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The Trust has also been active in training the village community in making and promoting cotton shopping bags, Ringal baskets, woolen products and other local handicrafts under the Livelihood project. Around 40 women are now trained seamstresses stitching domestic and export orders.  The Trust also acts as a bridge between global markets (with no rural outreach) and skilled artisans through a reputable Delhi-based handicraft manufacturing and export house, Kapkol Exports Pvt. Ltd. A fruitful synergy between the Trust, locals, and market partnerships has helped the Trust build and finance a Supi Community Centre in Kumaon Hills, Uttarakhand. It is a space for a conducive working environment for artisans along with the premises for all the health initiatives in and around the village. The artisans visit the Centre regularly to attend pieces of training on tailoring and health.

Green Fuel Project in Kerala has been another environmental project initiated and supported by the Trust. The Trust bought a Fuel Pod and formed a women’s committee to convert waste cooking oil into biofuel. The fuel thus made is used to run a houseboat in Kerala. It is far less polluting and creates income for women-led self-help group in the Chenganda village, Kerala.

The impact of these projects drives us to scale our initiatives, create a movement of sustainable manufacturing in the remote areas of the Himalayas where women find themselves alone as husbands leave the villages in search of work in cities, sometimes only returning once a year.

In addition to craft standardization, better health, and working conditions, the Community Centre brings women together, is a space for interaction and communication, bonding, and mutual support.

Women in the villages, empowered by the Trust are now able to make informed and independent decisions for their lives, are sending more children to schools with the income generated by them and are living healthier lives.