Art for Life: Power of Culture for Rural Livelihood

Patachitra Artist (West Bengal, India)

India’s labor force has reached 375 million in 2002 and the country has to generate 200 million additional employment by 2020.  Report on Employment and Unemployment Survey (2009-10) by Labor Bureau suggests that 9.4% of India’s overall labor force is likely to be unemployed, corresponding to approximately 40 million persons, the majority of which (80%) is from rural. Further, the report suggests that only 10% of employed persons in rural area belong to regular wage/salaried class.  The majority of them are either in the categories of self-employed (46%) or casual labor (44%), implying that their job may be in precarious situation.

In turn, the number of handicraft and handloom artisans in India is estimated to be about 68 lakhs (2011-12) and 44 lakhs respectively (2009-10, Ministry of Textiles). Other than crafts, there are several communities in rural India practicing folk performing arts. This huge skill base has the potential to develop as a vibrant cultural sector providing steady employment in rural areas. 

Art for Life - a flagship programme of banglanatak dot com, a social enterprise based in Kolkata, West Bengal- intends to create livelihood opportunities in rural India through the revitalization of folk arts and craft traditions.   UNESCO signed a partnership agreement with banglanatak dot com in 2012 to promote and expand the concept and methodology of Art for Life within India and beyond.    

Art for Life is currently being implemented in the State of West Bengal towards the development of 10 Rural Craft Hub cover touching nearly 3000 beneficiaries.    

For further information on banglanatak dot com and Art for Life Click here 

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