Kadam + Kadam Haat
From craft clusters to self-sustaining enterprises
Social Enterprise • Hybrid • B2B2C
West Bengal, Odisha, Uttar Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir
Basketry & Weaving (natural materials)
STARTED IN 2006 & 2008
By Payal Nath, Rajesh Nath, Pooja Ratnakar
Baskets, Mats, Trays, Accessories
DID YOU KNOW?
Kadam trains artisans in sabai, moonj, sitalpati, bamboo, and wood crafts using local, natural materials.
By empowering semi-skilled women in villages, increasing their mobility, fostering independence and engaging local youth, Kadam is enabling self-reliance across dispersed rural districts.
Nirupama has a MA in Political Science from FM University, Balasore. In 2006, she turned up at the Kadam office in Kolkata. The misfortunes she had faced left her unable to manage even one square meal a day.
With Kadam’s support and training, she now runs the show, managing a crew of 115 craftswomen. As more and more women join her cluster, she continues to strengthen and empower the many women she has taken under her wing.
Kadam is a Society set up to address issues of semi-skilled rural artisans, living below the poverty line. To tackle this at the grassroots level, Kadam provides education and viable employment opportunities for young people in rural villages by creating small and medium enterprises that leverage local resources.
Kadam Haat was set up in 2008 as a social enterprise to help market products and services initiated by Kadam. With Kadam’s continuous training programs across design, planning, and organising, villages gradually transform into entrepreneurial hubs.
HOW IT WORKS
Generating sustainable livelihoods
Through upskilling opportunities in handmade
Eliminate rural-urban youth migration
By generating local employment opportunities
Empower women and youth
Through education and training in financially sustainable entrepreneurial practices
Harness traditional knowledge via use of local resources
Preserving cultural heritage, while improving standards of living in rural India
Connect rural producer → urban consumer
By generating demand for environmentally friendly, ethically handmade products
Working with rural communities throws up a unique set of challenges to overcome
Artisans perceive traders and middlemen as exploitative
Social taboos like caste-based hierarchies get in the way of building strong, cohesive teams
Festival and peak productive times coincide with monsoons and raw material unavailability
During harvesting season, a majority of the artisans are unavailable for extended periods of time
Men and women offered equal pay isn’t well-received by some communities
Cost of transporting products from rural villages to urban cities is very high
“To build a relationship of trust, it has to be a complete circular interaction. And that's how we work — we work with the community, the youth, and the women, always together. That's been our model."
— PAYAL NATH, CO-FOUNDER, KADAM
The USP of Kadam’s model is that profits from Kadam Haat go to the entire team, not individual artisans. The women in the team may want a library for their children or solar lamps for their village. Even if it is ₹20,000, social empowerment goes hand in hand with economic empowerment.
6,000+ artisans provided with livelihoods
10% - 33% rise in rural women's income
12 artisan-led enterprises have been set up with Kadam's help
“I want to have a home of my own someday and educate my two daughters the way my father educated me. I started with 2 craftswomen and today, I manage a crew of 115 women artisans! I hope I can continue to strengthen and empower the many women who join my cluster in the same way Kadam empowered me by taking me under their wing."
— NIRUPAMA PATRA, CLUSTER HEAD, BALIAPAL, ODISHA
Reducing rural-urban migration for menial jobs, addressing crime, violence, and other social problems
“I have started living my life of dreams. Working with Kadam has made my life so productive that I have started believing in utopia. I work in 2 blocks with the cooperation of 70-80 women. We have seen how women now prefer to work with our organisation instead of farming. We have made roti baskets, towel baskets, and have also learned the organic dyeing techniques with 10-15 days of training.”
— SURJO, CLUSTER HEAD, MIDNAPORE, W. BENGAL
Promoting child development and reducing malnutrition
Responsible use of locally available and sustainable natural resources
Use of affordable clean energy solutions
“The partnership with the individual, the partnership with the family, the partnership with the society, the partnership with the governments within that panchayat or society can be formal or informal but it’s mostly informal. To put it briefly, our model emotes."
— PAYAL NATH, CO-FOUNDER, KADAM