Let me take you on an exciting entrepreneurial journey with Amita Deshpande, the founder of ReCharkha – an inspiring one that showcases the power of combining cultural heritage, sustainability, and social impact.
I had the pleasure of visiting her boutique in Pune, where I discovered her collection of upcycled handwoven products that are handcrafted in India by tribal women and artisans using charkha and handloom. You can see through the images, Gandhi and a spinning wheel, the plastic that is recycled, the cloth that is then created, her boutique and some of her products.
Gandhi and the charkha: a symbol of India’s Independence or Swadeshi movement that represents self-reliance. People used their own charkha and handlooms at home to make their own khadi, silk, or wool yarn and fabric, symbolizing their freedom from foreign rulers. Amita is reviving this traditional spinning wheel to solve today’s world problems of plastic pollution, environmental degradation, and rural unemployment.
Through her business,, Amita symbolizes a global movement of freedom from plastic pollution, and one critical aspect of this movement is enabling livelihoods. The work involves hand-rolling and hand-weaving waste plastic using the charkha and the handloom. Her logo has a tribal woman spinning her wheel to recycle, affirming the idea of a circular economy.
What materials do they upcycle? Plastic bags, multilayered wrappers of gifts, biscuits, cookies, old audio and video cassette tapes (remember these?), and a lot of other household packaging material like cereal, flour, and detergent packets. You can donate your plastic bags for her team to recycle.
reCharkha EcoSocial creates livelihood opportunities for tribal women and youth who manually weave fabric from waste plastic using a traditional charkha and a handloom. The products are eco-friendly, stylish and unique, changing from season to season.
Amita’s vision comes full circle, and you can contribute, participate and support. Join the movement to promote a circular economy. You can contribute by shopping at their Pune or Mumbai store, or online at www.recharkha.org or make a donation to their nonprofit account.