Kala Raksha Trust, a grassroots social enterprise, is dedicated to preservation of traditional arts. Uniquely committed to documenting existing traditions, the Trust maintains a collection of heirloom textiles housed as a local Museum. Artisans participated in establishing this Museum. Thus it embodies a simple but revolutionary concept: involve people in presenting their own cultures.



Kala Raksha was conceived as a new model for development through handicrafts: the interlinking of two parts, preservation of age-old traditions, and income generation via contemporary work.



The Kala Raksha project began in Kutch in 1991. It focused on a group of embroiderers in Sumrasar Sheikh, a village 25 km north of Bhuj. These people had migrated from Nagar Parkar in Sindh in 1972, bringing with them some fine traditional embroideries as well as their skills in suf and kharek embroidery styles With generous support from patrons of traditional arts, a permanent collection of traditional embroideries was begun. A group of twenty artisans was organized and guided in creating suf embroidered products for sale.


In 1993, KALA RAKSHA was established as a registered society and trust. Comprising artisans, community members, and experts in the fields of art, design, rural management and museums, KALA RAKSHA today works with nearly 1,000 embroidery artisans of seven ethnic communities.


The Center

Kala Raksha Center in Sumrasar Sheikh village, designed by Ahmedabad architect R. J. Vasavada, follows KALA RAKSHA's philosophy of innovation within traditions. The buildings are based on the traditional round bhungas, but use contemporary materials and technology. Like the traditional structure of artisans' villages, the Center is modular, comprising separate "bhungo" units arranged with local landscaping to create a living-scale, inviting atmosphere. Office, workshop, Resource Center and Museum are all computerized. These, the shop and guest house are all fully electrified with photovoltaic solar power. The Center serves as a model for contemporary technology for village artisans.


Aims and Objectives

KALA RAKSHA means "Art Preservation." The Trust aims to preserve traditional arts of the region by making them culturally and economically viable. Trust activities are artisan driven. Without artisans there can be no traditional arts. As far as possible, positions from office managers, to coordinators to tailors are drawn from the immediate local communities. The Trust provides training as needed to make this possible. Kala Raksha encourages community members to work together toward the goal of self sufficiency. Generating income through their traditions, community members can realize their strengths and maintain their identity as they develop.