When the students of Enactus Indraprastha College for Women found a community of Kumaoni women that was dependent on the male members of their household for everything and lacked financial independence, they took charge. They designed a project around these women, and their association with the ancient Kumaoni art form of Aipan, to achieve the dual objective of reviving the dying art form Aipan and to make these women self-sufficient and independent.
Aipan is an old art form, indigenous to the Kumaon region of Uttarakhand. The unique designs of Aipan are easy to identify; the quintessential Aipan art work has intricate detailing of white over a rich red background. Traditionally, the red (geru) background is first painted on walls or floors. Then, a rice paste is prepared after which the detailing is done by hand.
Each day the women in the community learn, and each day is different for them. Their courage of changing their culture, which is not well- recognized, into something that has a higher value in this fast world of printed and imported fake pieces of art, is magnificent and commendable.The light in their eyes, when they are praised because of the beauty of the products they make, can probably be the best thing you will ever see in your day.
Understanding their passion for the art form and their need to be self-reliant, the students of Enactus IPCW have taken up several initiatives. They have conducted workshops for our community; for financial literacy, bargaining skills, effective communication and soft skills among many others. Through these initiatives, the women have inculcated entrepreneurial spirit and have become more confident in their abilities. The women who were unable to converse freely with the students initially now became confident enough to give interviews in front of the camera. There was indeed nothing more empowering than financial independence for these women.
The Artists turned Entrepreneurs are broadening the mindsets in the society. Every day is a new journey, and when those white lines of paint flow upon the red base to make a pattern, these women empower themselves into something more than they could imagine.
They help train the ladies so that they become self- sufficient in their work, and the essence of sustainability is maintained with every step taken.
The ladies make various diversified products.Their talent and hard work is displayed in various exhibitions where their products are sold, and we Enactus students act as the mediators in the revenue generation model for them.
They don’t only want to metamorphose 13 housewives into 13 successful confident and self- sufficient entrepreneurs, but also want to restore and revive our country’s heritage through Project Aipan.