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Vidya Balan lauds Amazon’s handmade initiative to empower women entrepreneurs and artisans

Vidya Balan, the lead star for the biographical drama Shakuntala Devi which has dropped on Amazon Prime Video today, spoke with women entrepreneurs & artisans from Amazon’s Saheli and Karigar programs in a virtual event, to laud the company’s Stand for Handmade initiative.

Launched about a month ago, Amazon’s Stand for Handmade initiative aims to help over 10 lakh entrepreneurs, including artisans and weavers from Amazon Karigar and women entrepreneurs from Amazon Saheli as a rebound from the economic disruption caused by COVID-19.

Vidya Balan said, “India is home to so many art forms – the weavers, artisans and their creations are a part of India’s heritage and our daily lives. The last few months have brought an unprecedented challenge for them and we need to encourage and support them in these tough times. I appreciate the efforts of Amazon to empower them through this initiative. I also Stand for Handmade.”

Vidya further added, “The spirit of thousands of women entrepreneurs resonates in Shakuntala Devi’s grit, determination and passion to beat all odds to follow her dreams. Through the promotions of Shakuntala Devi, I have exclusively worn only hand-made garments by artisans – it is my humble effort to draw attention to the rich heritage of art and craft that India boasts of.”

During the interactive session, Vidya further spoke about her love for Indian textiles, arts and crafts, and how Amazon is successfully bridging the gap between artisans and consumers across the country, fulfilling the need of the hour. She highlighted that it is our legacy, and we need to value it. The women entrepreneurs in attendance further discussed how they themselves want to take their homemade products to the global audience and make India proud, which was applauded by Vidya who said, “agar vishwas ho toh band darwaze bhi khul jate hai”.

Under the Stand for Handmade initiative, more than 2.8 lakh women entrepreneurs participating in the Amazon Saheli program and over 8 lakh artisans and weavers participating in the Amazon Karigar program are benefiting from 100% SoA fee waiver for 10 weeks, which is otherwise charged to these sellers.

Amazon has created a “Stand for Handmade” storefront to help generate customer demand for the locally crafted, handmade products from artisans and women entrepreneurs from different parts of the country. Customers can visit and buy from specific pages created for selection from North, South, East, West and Central India. The storefront showcases traditional handicrafts & handlooms while highlighting stories of craftsmen and their works, bringing their stories closer to the consumers.

Pranav Bhasin, Director Seller Experience, Amazon India said “We remain committed to helping women entrepreneurs and artisan community get back to business and rebound from the recent challenges. With Stand for Handmade, we are working to enhance the visibility for the products and creations offered by women entrepreneurs and artisans on while helping them with working capital needs with the 100% SoA fee waiver. I would like to thank Ms. Vidya Balan for expressing her support for this initiative. This will bring greater awareness about the art and craft as well as the artisans behind them.

Sunita Bali who sells handcrafted apparel under the brand name ‘Roshni’ on says, “It was inspiring to speak with Vidya Balan and converse about how success comes from the passion to follow your dreams. It is the same passion that has driven me to work with weavers and artisans from Himachal Pradesh to set up Roshni. While initially, we would sell at exhibitions and trade fairs, but now with support from Amazon Karigar, we are showcasing the unique handcrafted products from some of the remote villages in Himachal to customers across India.”

The biographical drama is based on the life of the world-renowned math genius Shakuntala Devi. Directed by Anu Menon and produced by Sony Pictures Networks Productions and Vikram Malhotra (Abundantia Entertainment), the biographical drama stars Vidya Balan in the titular role along with Sanya Malhotra, Jisshu Sengupta and Amit Sadh who essay pivotal roles in the film.

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