A Society for Crafts and Craftspeople
In 1981. It was formally registered as a Society on 26th October, 1981; under the Societies Registration Act XXI of 1860 vide Reg. No: S/12091.
Bunny Page, Poonam Muttreja, Jaya Jaitly, Gauri Chaudhury, Prabeen Grewal and Laila Tyabji. Laila Tyabji is the current Chairperson.
Working in different fields and professions, they all felt that Indian craftspeople, though increasingly marginalized, had a great skills and potential – economically, culturally and socially. Dastkar’s objective is to use craft as a catalyst to socio-economic empowerment.
The basket of support services includes skill evaluation and up-gradation, capacity building, design and product development, market information, access to wholesale buyers, credit sources and other networking assistance, marketing through bazaars and exhibitions. Craftspeople/crafts organizations access those services they require.
Dastkar currently works in 22 states all over India. Skills and products range from terracotta to metal, embroideries to folk art, garments to furniture and basketry.
It is primarily need based. Crafts people, NGOs, Govt departments and other organizations approach us and we assess their requirements through field visits and surveys, as well as through evaluating their products and skills. The criterion is that they should either be practicing handicrafts/ handlooms/ folk arts themselves, or supporting craftspeople who work in this field.
Dastkar does not have any branches. There is an autonomous sister organization, Dastkar Andhra, based in Hyderabad, working with handloom weavers and natural dyes, and the Dastkar Ranthambhore Project in Sawai Madhopore district, Rajasthan, both initiated by Dastkar. Otherwise Dastkar works directly from the Delhi office, linking with local grassroots NGOs or crafts organizations.
The two organizations are not connected, though they are often confused due to the similar names, and because they both work in the craft field. Dastkari Haat Samiti is a national association of craftspeople founded in 1986 by Jaya Jaitly who is its President.
Initial support through 1981-2004 was through Indian and International funding agencies such as OXFAM, NORAD, Ford Foundation, ICCO, and the DC(Handicrafts) Schemes. Most organizational and marketing activities are now self-supporting, with grants and donations for specific projects. Individual craft development projects are funded either by the beneficiary organizations or external funding.
Dastkar remains a Registered Society, with a General Body and Office Bearers consisting of 4 of its original Founders and others from the craft and development sector. The current Chairperson is Laila Tyabji. The Dastkar Office, consisting of approximately 15-20 Administrative, Projects, Accounts and Operational Staff, operates under their guidance and mandate.
There is no registration or membership fee for craftspeople to avail of Dastkar programmes and events. If the artisan group/NGO/organization fulfills our criteria, we include them in our database. Membership of the General Body of the Dastkar Society is proposed by the existing General Body members.
Dastkar is a very small organization, but we are always happy to receive your cvs and applications – for a permanent assignment or short-term consultancies. People with a background in Management, Social Work, Design, Marketing, and Finance are always in demand in the sector.