Samoolam Crochets Towards Social Change and Women Empowerment!

Usha Varia, comes with Samoolam and provides a life of financial indepence to people while being in contact with her roots of India!

Collective roots- that’s what Samoolam means in Sanskrit. Samoolam dives into the roots of India and carefully crochets its way into India’s craft.

Samoolam was founded in 2009 in Gaya, Bihar, with the idea of generating employability and livelihood for rural women in the area.

Usha Prajapati-Varia opened several opportunities to the vulnerable communities of rural India

Usha Prajapati-Varia, the founder, graduated with a degree in Textile Design from NID, Ahemdabad. Varia then went on to study in the USA after receiving a Ford Foundation International Fellowship in 2006. She completed her Master’s degree in International Development & Social Change from Clark University.

It was 2009, and Usha started Samoolam with just 20 women by her side. Samoolam is an NGO that believes in the concept of giving back to its roots. 

Varia started Samoolam with one aim in her mind- to utilise the availability of resources while helping several people attain financial stability. 

Samoolam has grown its roots in socio-economic development.

When Usha Varia started Samoolam, her main goal was to provide socio-economic stability while empowering women. She, alongside 20 women, started channelling her creative energy into the beautiful concept of generating livelihood. 

Usha, through Samoolam, trained several women in learning the crochet technique. Today, Samoolam has several crocheted fashion accessories, stationery and home decor products. 

With the social movement, Samoolam took one step towards alleviating poverty, low literacy rate, caste discrimination, and the lack of respect women get in the district of Gaya, Bihar. 

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Their idea was to create everyday accessories using the one-needle yarn knitting and crochet technique. Moreover, they were clear about wanting to dish out sustainable products that are cost-effective and usable. 

In the last 12 years, Samoolam’s team has grown to over 100 women, and every day, these amazing women strive to make the best out of availability.

These women invest in easily available resources, crochet skills and human endeavours- and it’s not surprising how the women’s individual growth spurt has risen by 300%.

Usha believes in using design for a better cause.

As a designer, Usha believes that one should utilise their design skills as a tool for social change- which can eventually be used to solve challenges. 

Another thing that Usha believes is that one shouldn’t restrict the design to the availability of resources. One should design anything and get swayed by everything- even leaves, twigs and squirrels on the branches. 

In an interview with The Hindu, Varia said:

“Design is a very powerful tool for social change if we use it to solve the challenges. That is what I did; I just used my best resources in the best creative way, identifying the community need, my strength and market demand. I am still learning so many things every day.”

According to Usha, what makes one a great designer is the ability to showcase the best elements from available resources. Needless to say, Usha is indeed a great designer who brings outcomes rather than cribbing about the scarcity of resources. 

Most importantly, Usha has incorporated her beliefs in Samoolam!

Usha’s mother is responsible for her creative acumen

Usha was the youngest of seven siblings at home, and she sprouted her mother’s creative gene. In a conversation with Humans of Gaya, Usha talked about how she helped her mother with crocheting. She said:

“The seed of Samoolam was sown with the help of my mother, who is an expert in crochet craft and supported me with her creative social entrepreneurship journey to alleviate poverty for women in her area. I have had one thing very clear in mind to give women the necessary livelihood skill so that they can empower themselves socially and financially.”

Moreover, while talking about Samoolam- her baby- Usha said:

“Samoolam was my small dream to do something for the community where I am born, which slowly started becoming true by bringing positive change in the lives of women. It’s where my roots lie, and I will always be obliged to my family, place and people. The small seed of Samoolam has converted into a big tree, and I hope this continues and give shed to more needy families there. I wish many more young generations should come ahead and start bringing small changes to their society to build a better world because a positive ripple effect can be very powerful.”

Usha Varia- the founder of Samoolam- defied all odds to create a beautiful initiative

Usha often takes a walk, and she gets up in the middle of the night to scribble ideas in her diary- Usha Varia is a genius. There is something undeniably beautiful when a person is passionate about what they do.

For Usha, bringing about a social change in a small place like Gaya and striving to take Samoolam to the top. Samoolam is not just a company that sells crochet crafts. It encourages women to come ahead and work for themselves.

It tells how women are not just caretakers- they are more than that. Samoolam provides women with a sense of self-worth and empowerment. She extends her hand to the ones in grave need while crocheting stairs of dreams and success along the way!

Image credit: YouTube & Samoolam‘s Instagram

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About the Author

Pranjali Hasotkar

I am a journalism student with a penchant for writing about women and social issues. I am an intersectional feminist and an aspiring journalist. I identify as she/her. read more...

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