Meet the Designer/Weavers

Handwoven GumCha is the product of hard-working farming families. When not in the fields growing rice and other crops, each adult member of the family needs to stay productive. Every hour of every day, sun up till past dark, becomes vital for the survival of the community.

Weaving and selling the GumCha is an essential element of the subsistence farming economies of our area, and, for generations has been the source of income needed to make ends meet for farm families.

Every time she loads her loom the weaver chooses the tread, the colors, the patterns and creates a unique design.

The GumCha Story – a 2000 year evolution in design – an inspiration in function

A GumCha is the most simple and refined cotton cloth

Designs are passed down from grandmother to daughter-in-law to granddaughter. Even after thousands of years, GumCha are made with pure cotton … and each one is the same useful size they have always been.

Design Evolution

Throughout the generations of creating this simple cloth on a traditional handloom, each family of Weavers has refined their designs to reflect their creativity.

Now, thousands of highly sophisticated, elegant and colorful patterns can be found in the villages and towns of our rural area. 

There are over 3,000 weavers in the area served by our project. It’s the type of work that involves the whole family. Looms are set up in the home so that any time not spent on farm work can be productively spent weaving GumCha.

Family Farming on the Ganges Delta

In a relatively small northeastern section of our District, around the village of Kashimnagar (within walking distance of the Ganges River), there are estimated to be over 3,000 farmer/weavers. With over 50% of the people in the area living below the rural poverty line in households with per capita incomes of less than $.50/day, weaving GumCha has been an indispensable economic activity for generations.

GumCha are locally made and, until our project, only locally sold and used by working people in agricultural communities.

Watch Video

Welcome to the Land of the GumCha Weavers

Vast green oceans of rice, small crowded villages, captivating music, and beautiful hard-working people.
View this short video for a taste of GumCha culture.

The Cost of Quality

Ironically, local weavers are finding it difficult to afford locally grown cotton. Because of ever rising global demand, recent drastic increases in the price of cotton on the international market have made it difficult for weavers to earn an adequate income from weaving 100% cotton GumCha. Many families have been forced to stop weaving and find other sources of income, including becoming day laborers on construction sites far away from their homes and farms. The difficulty faced by weavers could be a permanent result of the now-globalized Indian cotton market. The GumCha4Health project thinks that we can make globalization work for small subsistence farmers/weavers.

Active people in the West will want to have a GumCha.

People who run, swim, bike, walk, hike or work in the garden will want one (or 3). Folks that work out in a gym, do yoga, get wet, get cold or get hot need one (or 3).

Weavers make GumCha for people who work hard, who are in the sun and cold, who need something to wash with, to dry with, to wipe away the sweat of the day.

A GumCha is a valuable tool. In the rural areas of West Bengal where this project is located, working people spend a whole day’s wage for a GumCha.

Our Goal

Subsistence farming economies in our area depend on cottage industries like weaving with a simple handloom to provide much-needed income for local families.

Many hundreds, perhaps thousands, of farming families who have depended on their skills as weaver artisans to hold households and farms together can return to self-sufficiency by working with us as we open new markets for their handloomed GumCha.

After all, a GumCha looks great with a jacket or sweater, jeans or a dress.

Hard-working GumCha Weavers believe that the future of their craft may be in the hands of people in the West.

Keeping money and jobs within the local rural economy is central to our plan.

We purchase GumCha directly from weavers, not middlemen, and the processing of GumCha, their labeling and shipping to the USA are conducted by local staff in Rampurhat.  Finished packages of GumCha sent from our office and shipping center located just south of Chapel Hill, NC, USA which handles sales, marketing, promotion, order fulfillment, and customer service.

What We Do With Your Support

Train Community Health Workers Serving Rural Villages
Triple the Income of Traditional Weavers
Provide Health Services to Rural Communities
Deliver the Woman and Man Power for Health Programs

“I am so pleased to have received my order of GumCha scarves. I will be giving them as gifts to family and friends.  I think your GumCha project is very imaginative, and a wonderful way to raise money for your program while helping to support local weavers.”
– SE, Washington DC


Thank You for Your Support

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Pick your GumCha from our wide selection for $20 each (shipping is free)
Get a free GumCha

If you buy 2 or more GumCha from our catalog, we will send you one complementary GumCha as a gift.  (We'll pick out a great design from the many we have in stock) Shipping is free (our standard shipping is through USPS and takes between 5 and 7 days), sales tax included, and your order will be much appreciated right now.

As an added bonus, each GumCha in your order will be accompanied by a card-sized 4-page brochure that introduces GumCha, the weavers, and the public health programs that the project supports.  This is great for giving GumCha as a gift.

Please beware – giving GumCha to friends and loved ones is a pleasantly habit-forming experience.
Thank you for your support.

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