By Lata Jha:
As a child, like a lot of us, Dakshayini Gowda was fascinated by her grandmother’s jewels. More than the gold and silver pieces, it was those little things made of leaves, seeds, flowers and other things recyclable which otherwise hardly had any value in terms of money, that caught her attention.
No wonder she sought help from her childhood memories when she began her project, Sanchali. Sanchali, which translates into movement in Sanskrit, is involved in alternative ways of teaching history to school children, mainly focusing on the art and crafts of the Indus valley civilization.
Gowda started creating ‘copies’ of the jewellery pieces so that the children who joined the project could touch and feel each item, and learn by not just looking at the pictures in books or in glass cases in museums. Sanchali’s workshops include games, drawings, puzzles, etc. that revolve around the subject. They conduct workshops, especially in rural areas, to reach out to as many children as possible. And funding these workshops is Sanchali’s eco-friendly jewellery project, which in turn also provides rural women with the opportunity of learning life skills, besides making them financially independent and increasing their self-confidence.
During her numerous trips to remote villages, Gowda learnt that regional and ancestral arts and crafts were being overshadowed by westernisation. These visits also sparked another idea, that of creating eco-friendly jewellery with the skills of rural woman, who were/are endowed with these naturally, or have inherited them from past generations.
Sanchali now conducts workshops for women in Karnataka and trains them in making handcrafted jewellery from recyclable items. They have created look-alikes of pottery, textile, beads, etc. of different periods to, in the process, give children a chance to learn history in a fun, interactive, lively, participatory and more effective manner. Since Gowda wanted to ensure that the workshops were free for all kids, especially taking into consideration those in rural areas, she decided to fund them by starting an eco-friendly jewellery project with the women in the villages of Karnataka.
Sanchali’s products are now available at various stores across India and abroad. But this is just the beginning for Dakshayini, who dreams of bringing jewels, education and beauty to the lives of many more people and combining their usages to enrich lives. She hopes to use education, traditional values, skills and recyclable material to promote her message.