A glimpse into our work.

While DESI runs predominantly on profiets gained, there have been several one-time development projects executed with grants provided by various government and non-government organizations.

Research, Training and Development Institute for Natural Dyes at Honnesara

In a country such as ours, rich in natural resources and heritage, wearing naturally dyed fabric would have been an obvious choice. For centuries we have boasted of a rich tradition of hand woven fabric, naturally dyed yarn and an enviable know-how that has been passed through generations of traditional weavers. This know-how coupled with vast locally available resources made it possible for our ancestors to use naturally dyed fabric. Over a period of time, with the advent of modernization and imported technical know-how from the west and most importantly, the new found greed to acquire more than what was necessary, chemical dyes and machine made fabric was introduced. Just like all things new, this was whole heartedly embraced by our people.

Charaka has been practising natural dyeing for nearly a decade now. By engaging experts in the field of natural dyes, it has managed to setup a full fledge dyeing unit in-house exclusively for natural dyes. It is the single largest producer of naturally dyed handloom fabric in our country today.

In collaboration with Infosys foundation, Charaka launched the ambitious plan of setting up an institute for research, development and training of natural dyes at Bheemanakone. An expert committee was formed to conceptualize this. The institute will be one of a kind that will not just be an excellence centre for natural dyeing but will also follow sustainability principles, which are core to the values of this institute.


Integrated Handloom Development Cluster

The project aims at improving the livelihood and social status of traditional handloom women weavers in three districts of Karnataka, namely Bagalkot, Gadag and Koppal. This area has a rich tradition of handloom. The project will be administered from the historical township of Gajendragad.

The project shall be structured as a Cluster development programme, targeting a minimum of three hundred active looms, within a radius of 30 kms around Gajendragad. Each loom provides employment to about five workers who are also beneficiaries.

The project proposes to revive and sustain this traditional sector by converging new approaches and strategies fine-tuned by the PIA. The strategies include forming Self Help Groups (SHGs) of weaver women, training the new set of women, establishing four production centers including natural dye production Centre, and a design Centre. The PIA will hold exhibitions across country to attract new customers who are seeking naturally dyed handloom fabric. The PIA will also launch e-marketing. New certification process will be initiated for quality control.


Deshpande Foundation : Phase Two

A livelihood project that works in the North Karnataka districts to ensure that atleast 200 weavers get a decent livelihood.


Deshpande Foundation : Phase One

A livelihood project that works in the North Karnataka districts to ensure that atleast 200 weavers get a decent livelihood.

Infosys Foundation

In a country such as ours, rich in natural resources and heritage, wearing naturally dyed fabric would have been an obvious choice. For centuries we have boasted of a rich tradition of hand woven fabric, naturally dyed yarn and an enviable know-how that has been passed through generations of traditional weavers. This know-how coupled with vast locally available resources made it possible for our ancestors to use naturally dyed fabric. Over a period of time, with the advent of modernization and imported technical know-how from the west and most importantly, the new found greed to acquire more than what was necessary, chemical dyes and machine made fabric was introduced. Just like all things new, this was whole heartedly embraced by our people.

Charaka has been practising natural dyeing for nearly a decade now. By engaging experts in the field of natural dyes, it has managed to setup a full fledge dyeing unit in-house exclusively for natural dyes. It is the single largest producer of naturally dyed handloom fabric in our country today.

In collaboration with Infosys foundation, Charaka launched the ambitious plan of setting up an institute for research, development and training of natural dyes at Bheemanakone. An expert committee was formed to conceptualize this.

The institute will be one of a kind that will not just be an excellence centre for natural dyeing but will also follow sustainability principles, which are core to the values of this institute.


McAfee RangDe Saree Project

Having reached a critical threshold with the existing product line, Charaka has now turned its attention towards traditional handloom sarees. Clusters which were once famous for their distinctive sarees are now left with only a handful of weavers keeping the tradition alive. With no knowledge transfer happening currently, it is only a matter of few years before these products are lost for good. Additionally, these weavers have also moved away from natural dyes and adopted chemical dyes thus diluting the aesthetic value and the USP of their creations. Charaka's plan is to work with one handloom saree cluster at a time and by providing design and quality inputs, help weavers create products that are appealing to customers. The organization has identified 4 clusters where there are active handlooms producing sarees. These are: Bagalkot, Koppal, Gadag and South Canara.

Charaka will work closely with handloom weavers on skill enhancement and for creating a product that is consistently high on quality. Services of a consultant on textile design will be engaged to facilitate knowledge transfer on design and quality aspects. Usage of inferior yarns and chemical dyes will be discouraged and weavers will be taught how to dye their own yarns using only natural products. Finished products that meet the product quality checks will be marketed under the Desi brand. The time frame for this action-research project is 3 years and will help develop a replicable model for similar (and much needed) interventions in Karnataka and other parts of the country.

Sangeet Natak Academy

Documentation of the handloom clusters in our country.


Cluster Development Project

HThe Ministry of Textiles, Govt. of India, supported by Govt of Karnataka provided the necessary impetus to Charaka in its early stages by sanctioning the Sagar Cluster Development Project. The focus of this intervention was to upgrade the skills of artisans, to provide necessary training in weaving, dyeing, block printing and administration to the members of Charaka. Through this project, a Common Facility Center (CFC) was created with basic infrastructure to store water, dyeing facilities, washing, yarn depot. Requisite looms and accessories were supplied to needy weavers and pre-loom workers. The Weavers Service Centre (WSC) provided necessary training in weaving, pre-loom and dyeing processes for the members of this co-operative. This gave a huge boost to the skill and confidence of the women workers. NHDC and KHDC provided the necessary support to procure yarn at subsidised rate through the co-operative. 300 pre-loom and post-loom artisans in Sagar Cluster area and another 200 weavers outside cluster area i.e. Northern Karnataka benefitted from this project. As a result of this intervention, the production of naturally dyed handloom cloth increased to 20,000 meters per month value addition obtained by creating variety of products. The wages of weavers increased from Rs.75 to Rs.200 due to improvement in skills as well as weaving of quality cloth.