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Blending Tradition with Modern Commerce : Indian Yards Foundation

In the heart of India's enchanting Nilgiris, where tradition meets modernity, lies a story of transformation and empowerment. The Indian Yards Foundation, along with its subsidiary, The Good Gift, stands as a testament to the resilience and creativity of indigenous communities. This journey begins with a simple yet profound idea: to harness traditional skills and sustainable practices for economic and environmental wellbeingIndian Yards foundation aligns closely with the principles of sustainable development, particularly in the context of indigenous communities in India.

Indigenous populations, often referred to as Adivasis, inhabit forested, mountainous, and hilly areas and are known for their sustainable practices and deep environmental connection​​. Nestled in the Nilgiris, known for its lush landscapes and diverse ecosystems, The Good Gift - A subsidiary of the Indian Yards Foundation was born out of Sunita and Suhas' vision to intertwine traditional craftsmanship with contemporary commerce. 

This vision was more than economic; it was about reviving and preserving the cultural fabric of rural and indigenous communities, often overshadowed in the fast-paced global market by fast fashion.

Community Involvement

In the Nilgiris, women from rural and indigenous communities are at the heart of the operations. After completing their daily chores, these women skillfully handcraft sustainable fabric dolls using ethically sourced natural and upcycled materials​​. 

Fabric dolls, a significant part of many cultures, carry historical and sentimental value. In the hands of The Good Gift's artisans, these dolls become narrators of folklore and tradition. The process of making these dolls is meticulous and steeped in tradition. It involves sourcing natural fibres, often upcycled materials, and employing techniques that have been passed down for generations. This not only ensures the dolls' uniqueness but also embeds a piece of cultural heritage in each creation.This initiative provides employment but also helps preserve the traditional craft of doll-making, which has a rich history dating back to ancient Egypt and the Roman Empire​​.

The Indian Yards Foundation has generated significant income for women artisans, amounting to ₹25,00,000​​. This income supports the artisans in becoming first-generation entrepreneurs, offering them more than just a livelihood but a path to socio-economic empowerment​​.

Environmental Contributions

By using pre-consumer textile waste for doll dresses, The Indian Yards Foundation minimises its carbon footprint and promotes circularity in its manufacturing processes​​. This approach aligns with sustainable development goals by reducing waste and conserving resources. Sustainability is not just a buzzword for The Good Gift; it's a lived practice. From sourcing eco-friendly materials to adopting biodegradable packaging, every aspect of their operation is designed to minimise environmental impact. 

Their adherence to sustainability is evidenced by their associations with various organisations committed to ethical practices. These affiliations not only validate their commitment but also place them in a global network of sustainable and ethical enterprises.

Broader Impact

With over 200 indigenous lives impacted​​ and jobs created for rural women​​, The Indian Yard Foundation exemplifies how craft and commerce can drive socio-economic well-being. Their efforts are not just about creating dolls but about reviving a sustainable, almost forgotten craft in the face of the plastic-intensive toy industry​​. With the support of 96 Rang De social investors , 16 women were enabled to buy their own sewing machines - not as a charity but as a step towards dignified livelihood. stand as beacons of hope in their respective communities, demonstrating the power of sustainable practices and community involvement. Their contributions go beyond economic empowerment, extending into cultural preservation and environmental stewardship. As they continue their journey, they remind us that every small effort counts in building a sustainable future. You can now invest in rural entrepreneurs and create livelihoods at

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1 Comment

Meenal Mamdani
Meenal Mamdani
Dec 30, 2023

Great post as always Mr Sleemon.

The video was informative and inspiring.

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