The inner call to grow along with every woman of her locality and community took the shape of Arpi’s Handlooms. The focused and one pointed goal of Julee Dehingia over the years made her a household name in upper Assam. She is not just promoting entrepreneurship among the village women but also helping in them a sense of self-confidence thereby preserving the traditional art form of Assam.
It all started in the year 2013, when Julee a Graduate from Dibrugarh University in Upper Assam came to stay in Golaghat. She wanted to do something for herself and for the society, but for that she requires some funding. She realised that every village woman of Assam have this in born quality of weaving including her. This idea led to the foundation of the weaving movement with only a seed capital of 25,000 INR collected by her over the years and with the support of only one weaver. Today she has 6 employees and all village women as weavers who work and earn with her.
Because of the limited resources and infrastructure, other village woman works in the form of cooperative for Julee, they often weave at their home and sale the product directly to her in case of bulk orders, who market and sale their handlooms and give them good remuneration. As now she is the hope of all these village women.
Apart from Assam, the handlooms are now making their way to other parts of the country and also in some foreign countries with raising demand of quality hand-woven clothes. The handlooms and clothes are woven with cotton, mulberry silk and eri production. Hand weaving takes a longer time and for the production of 60 pairs of clothes it takes 10 months, the quality of product is fetching them some money, which is helping this network of women growing.
This silent women movement needs support in the form of encouragement, though Julee and her team of weaving woman are doing all this of their own for last 5 years, without any support from government or any other agencies, they often face difficulties in terms of permissions and marketing the quality handlooms.
The story of Julee Dehingia and her weaving movement may not be the only one of its kind but the zeal and will power with which they carry forward this movement is worth to be recognized and acknowledged. They require a larger platform to showcase, which will help them earn better livelihood and a life of dignity.