Kala Raksha Trust

The Kala Raksha Vidhyalaya. An institution of design for traditional artisans. The Kala Raksha Vidhyalaya. An institution of design for traditional artisans.

The Kala Raksha Trust is a social development organisation based in Sumrasar Sheikh, in the Kutch region of Gujarat (western India). The Trust’s main aim is to preserve traditional arts, in particular embroidery, by helping artisans to become economically self-sustaining.

The Trust was set up in 1993 and originally started working with twenty Suf (an ethnic group from Gujarat) embroiderers in one village. By the beginning of the twenty-first century, the Trust was working with almost one thousand embroiderers and other artisans, from seven different ethnicities, in 25 villages. These artisans use different embroidery styles, including Jat, Khaarek, Mutava, Paako, Rabari and Suf, in addition to appliqué and patchwork forms.

Aid is provided in producing and marketing products, such as shalwar kamiz (traditional sets of tunic and trousers), scarves, purses, toys and more. Older women, with failing eyesight, are helped to develop and market patchwork quilts. The Trust hires local staff to operate its projects, which have expanded to include literary and health care education, a resource centre, museum, shop and guest house.

The Kala Raksha Museum began in 1997 and now has a large collection of items that are used for designers, researchers, students, etc. In 2005 the Trust opened the Kala Raksha Vidhyalaya (KRV), India’s first design school for artisans. Visiting art and design experts from India and around the world work with a local permanent faculty to teach Kutchi artisans design development and modern trends and markets. The school includes different craft studios and a computer-aided design centre. The year-long course, taught in modular form as students cannot leave their homes for long periods, ends with a fashion show. Each student shows his/her collection at the show, which is juried by craft and design professionals. An electronic portfolio of each graduate is made and linked to various international markets. To date (late 2014), the KRV has had 124 graduates.


  • LITTRELL, Mary A. and Judy FRATER (2013). 'Artisan enterprise, cultural property, and the global market,' in: (eds.) Sandy Black, Amy de la Haye, Joanne Entwistle, Agnès Rocamora, Regina A. Root and Helen Thomas, The Handbook of Fashion Studies, London: Bloomsbury.
  • www.kala-raksha.org (retrieved 17th April 2016).
  • www.kala-raksha-vidhyalaya.org (retrieved 17th April 2016).

Digital source of illustration (retrieved 9th July 2016).


Last modified on Saturday, 20 May 2017 18:57