Home > What We Do > Our Action > Karigari

Emancipation of girls and women requires an attitudinal shift in the society to empower them to become economically independent and thus equal partners in the home economy. Started in 1999, Literacy India’s Karigari helps improve the status of youth and women in society by providing them with livelihood options in vocational areas, based on need in their local economy, beneficiaries’ preferences and aptitude. The whole purpose is to impart vocational skill training, wherein entrepreneurs and skilled workers would be incubated. Karigari Janani, as the name suggests, specifically focuses on girls and women. It helps women establish themselves in vocations such as:

  • Stitching, embroidery, recycled paper product training, block printing, tie & die etc.
  • Spa & Beautician training, Agarbatti making,(short course)
  • Paper plate making
  • Driving and hospitality management
  • Eco/Social-tourism
  • Computer courses certified by National Institute of Electronics and Information Technology (Govt. of India)( Accreditation to Literacy India).
  • Training Teachers for Gyantantra Digital Dost of Literacy India (Basic ICT & Trainers course) Teachers who do well are hired by LI for planned programs in govt schools of Haryana, Jharkhand & WB.


The Project has been implemented across 152 villages in India. It has been supported by GPI, Tupperware, UPS Foundation, MasterCard, GE Foundation Cognizant foundation in the last five years. This support helped to assess the need of the women in these communities and train them in key vocations; it also helped acceptance of the community about the program and also its results and impact. Karigari has helped over 10000 women since inception with the help of various corporate donors.

Interestingly, there has also been a spur of micro/small businesses, home enterprises with a large portion of the beneficiaries turning into self employed entrepreneurs. Some have also found employment in relevant industries. Along these lines, women have been further trained on advanced designs with quality finishing. Indha, another Literacy India initiative sells products made by these women on various online portals and as corporate gifts.

These women continue to act as role models and change agents for the next generation learners. Women Self-help groups (SHGs) are able to create their own revolving fund for their own micro-enterprise and sustainability


Karigari has seen phenomenal and significant achievements till now:

  • Karigari-Janani is an all women program with special focus to map their skills, need and learning abilities. They are mobilized further to form groups to work as entrepreneurs.
  • It helps to develop an understanding about the indigenous skill at the local base, market linked and managing to local market.
  • The program and its progress help Literacy India to understand and map the indigenous resources, identify local artisans and local art or traditional skill.
  • This project had been able to train and develop skill around 2500 women in last two years in tailoring, block printing, handmade paper products, embroidery, craft, recycle handmade-paper and also for Indha (special craft division of Literacy India).
  • The program is able to link women to the Indha Program of Literacy India. Women after taking training under the Karigari project are helped with value addition on stitching better quality products for the market. This year, over 300 women are working under Indha artisans who specialize in all kinds of Bags, Furnishing items, Recycled Paper, Paper Products and accessories.
  • Indha had been able to scale up its marketing and has reached various parts of India and few other countries too. Currently, its attempt is to set up a consolidated unit of women workers in villages.
  • Remote centers also help to understand variety of areas where local resources are obtained to be transformed into finished products – shopping bags, school uniforms are some popular products.
  • Currently more than 300 trainees are enrolled under Indha project from this vocation and earning on a permanent and consistent basis to support their families.
  • In urban/semi-urban centres, other relevant skill programs like CCA- Computer Certification program have helped women to be mainstreamed in companies which are looking for database operators or secretarial jobs. It is indeed gratifying to see some students become teachers for Literacy India`s special educational project ‘Gyantantra Digital Dost’.
  • The proverbial ‘glass ceiling’ has been broken by some gutsy women/girls, who took to driving, a skill still considered unique amongst this under served segment. Girls trained ended up becoming resource persons for driving Literacy India children to school and have also been absorbed by Cab- Services. Others are helping their own family members who are drivers for schools etc.


18 years Priyanka, lives with her parents, four brothers and sisters in a slum in Belgachia Howrah Her parents migrated from Bihar. Priyanka completed Madhayamik (Class X standard). She was not allowed to study further as her father planned to get her married. Priyanka took the interim gap to her advantage, and joined the stitching and tailoring school run by Literacy India. In her mind, she planned to complete the stitching and tailoring course and start a home based business. Her hard work paid off and she used the early earnings from business to resume her studies. She would appear XII exam through NIOS.

Sasta Mondal is a house wife living in the village Bairadih of Chandankiary Block- Bokaro. Her husband Sri Aswini Mahato works as a labourer in a woodcutting mill. While for most of us, 16 is synonymous with being the best, most carefree phase of our lives, Sasta’s synonyms reserved for Sasta’s life at 16 were struggle and hardships. Her father got her married at this tender age (16). Life was anything but rosy from here on too. Upon entering her in-laws house, she found extreme poverty, which led to regular quarrel among family members. It’s when she had children that she took charge of the situation, and resolved not to pass on the same fate to them. Her children’s education became the utmost priority for her.

Access to Literacy India’s learning centre at Khetadi proved to be a big boon for her, acting as a catalyst to her determination to make her kids study. Sasta joined tailoring at the Literacy India centre and upon completion of that, joined in embroidery learning too. Her self-motivation led her to complete both these programs successfully. Enterprising in her own way, she started looking around for a shop where she could run the business of tailoring, repairing and selling homemade products. There was no looking back! From a monthly income of Rs. 1000 per month, it went up phenomenally to Rs. 3500 per month. Her Father- In- law showed confidence in her and bought an old sewing machine for her. Says a satisfied Sasta, “I feel immense pride in showing off my work to those who once belittled this dream that I had. I couldn’t have asked for more” She sure is Literacy India’s pride too!