Over the last two years, Hastha has been actively working with children and adults with special needs to create opportunities for them to earn & learn. To pilot this, we collaborated with Gurukulam (gurukulamindia.com) in Chennai to set up a block printing unit on their premises and train their students in hand block printing. The results have been heart-warming.
We chose block printing as part of their vocational training, not only since it is a part of what Hastha does, but also because of the nature of the art itself. It is repetitive, engaging and gives the children an opportunity to interact with different colours, shapes and textures,
In just over a year, Gurukulam now has their own store with products created by their students. From bags, curtains, sarees, cushion covers, masks to even t-shirts for Hastha. They take custom orders as well. We are excited to now replicate this model in other special schools, as Project Block-by-block.
Extending this to other schools would involve providing them with the material resources in addition to setting up basic infrastructure and training. To achieve this, we propose building an extensive block library, which enables the schools to borrow blocks from Hastha and return them in exchange for newer blocks after their use. In parallel, we will continue to build our blocks library as we bring more such schools and organisations under this programme.
Carefully chosen hand carved blocks, with a mix of classic patterns as well as contemporary designs are the foundation of any block printing unit. In fact, Hastha can vouch that the quality and aesthetics of the block collection has a direct impact on product quality and sales.