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Saturday, January 16, 2021

Meet an enterprising woman and her team weaving quilts to gift frontline workers on I-Day

Honouring the frontline workers for their innumerable contribution, Taruna Sethi and her team of artisans look to gift 1,000 patchwork quilts to frontline workers on India's Independence Day 2021

Written by Jayashree Narayanan | Pune | Updated: January 5, 2021 2:12:49 pm
Taruna sethi, quilting, indianexpress.com, indianexpress, independence day 2021, frontline workers, pandemic, unique initiative,India's Karuna Quilt Movement running since 2020. (Source: PR Handout)

Quilts keep one warm, protected and comfortable. That idea drove Taruna Sethi, an entrepreneur producing quilts to want to make and ‘gift’ 1,000 quilts to frontline workers as a token of gratitude and in the process employing migrant workers, including those who lost their jobs amid the pandemic.

Through India’s Karuna Quilt Movement, which was launched in August 2020, Taruna and her team comprising 22 artisans are “committed” to achieving their dream, on August 15, 2021.

Taruna sethi, quilting, indianexpress.com, indianexpress, independence day 2021, frontline workers, pandemic, unique initiative, Taruna Sethi explains a design to an artisan. (Source: PR Handout)

“Giving shape to a quilt is so appropriate to the sentiment of gratitude – karuna or compassion. We need to count our blessings and acknowledge these frontline workers. When things go wrong, there is no choice for the people in the professions of medicine, armed forces, police, municipality, etc. but to come in the forefront and do everything possible to keep us safe and healthy, often at the cost of their own health and lives,” the 55-year-old told indianexpress.com, adding that “there could not be a better date than Independence Day” for realising their dream.

Taruna, who moved from the US to Mumbai in 2015, set up an enterprise named Simply Beautiful Always in 2016, focusing on intricate patchwork quilting. What began as an exercise where she taught her domestic help the art of quilting, later transformed to becoming the first step for a “social movement”. “The idea is to generate a sustainable income for them and so we are training them in making these intricate patch works designs and not just a simple razai,” she explained.

Taruna sethi, quilting, indianexpress.com, indianexpress, independence day 2021, frontline workers, pandemic, unique initiative, One of the squares which are ready for quilting. (Source: PR Handout)

Taruna and her team design the layouts and finish the patch work quilts. “We are virtually training several NGOs and running a pilot test in a village in Bihar to make the quilt tops. Additionally, we are also partnering with a few textile and garment manufacturers who are contributing their surplus/scraps cotton fabrics which are getting upcycled to be made into quilts by the ones who need to be sustainably employed,” said the self-employed business woman, who majorly funds the project along with contributions from people on http://www.indiaskarunaquilt.com

Not just that, people can also make contributions towards the movement in the form of fabrics or finished quilts. As per Taruna, one or several 12.5 inches x 12.5 inches squares that make a quilt can be designed and contributed by people. “You can also make the squares yourself and send it to us and we will assemble them into finished quilts. It is completely up to your creative imagination right from sewing, patch work, paint, embroidery, knitting and crochet,” she said.

Taruna sethi, quilting, indianexpress.com, indianexpress, independence day 2021, frontline workers, pandemic, unique initiative, Neelam Sharma, one of the square contributors, with her creation. (Source: PR Handout)

On the significance of the movement, she said how “no job is small”. “In these challenging times, the ones who could pivot and adapt to new jobs have succeeded beautifully. It is important that we constantly keep learning and improvising with the changing times and always remain independent. We are capable of just about anything as long as we have the right attitude and an open mind,” said Taruna.

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