Responsible Travel and Experiential Learning in India that Benefits Local Communities
We strive to be your link to the heart of our country: our artists, artisans and heritage. By connecting you directly to them and their products in handmade crafts and travel, we hope to increase the annual income of our microentrepreneur partners by at least 25%. Our special focus: rural livelihoods in crafts and travel.
We do this through an ecosystem:
- Unique handmade in India products that celebrate the everyday heroes of India,
- Curated online events (melas) that showcase the heritage of India, and
- Curated offline immersive rural experiences.
Dharma Crafts: When we began our journey, we found that many artists and artisans lacked an online space of their own. Our online events are an effort to carve out a small part of the online cosmos in support of them. It is also an aim to promote people like you: people wanting to make a difference in the world, who have worked hard to transform it through the choices they make. It is a conduit to celebrate the people of India. Dharma Products are selected products that we curate from a chosen group of artists, in order to promote them.
Dharma Melas: These are an attempt to take the traditional melas of India online. They're a unique shopping experience, a trifecta of the 3 biggest online sectors in the country: gaming, eCommerce and social media. Dharma Melas have live-streamed events, links to eCommerce sites with unique products, features for you to chat directly with our artists and artisans and win gifts and giveaways.
Dharma Experiences: Around 70% of India lives in its rural villages. Yet, their voices are rarely heard in the 30% that lives in its cities. Taking you from the online world to the hinterlands of our country, our rural experiences are an aim to bridge the wide gap that exists between these two worlds. They connect our old world with the new. The urban with the rural. The heart of the country with the minds of its millions.
Thanks for dropping by and giving us your time! Come back again soon!
Note from the Founder
I grew up outside India entirely unaware of Her history, culture, heritage and challenges. It was my own loss. One day, I got on a train to Orissa called the Garib Rath (Poor Man’s Chariot). That train took me into my first exploration of the country, unadulterated by media bias, scholarly intellect and arm-chair critique. I spoke to families whose daughters were ‘studying in another town’, only to be informed later on that the girls were likely sold into sexual slavery. The sharp truth of those casual words burst my ignorant bubble. By the time I returned to my beloved Bangalore, I knew nothing would be the same again.
Far removed from my reality were the rural and agrarian communities of India. They form the backbone of the country, yet their voices often go unheard in the clamour and noise of a new and modern India. A study and exploration of this taught me and humbled me more than I can say. I travelled to various parts of the country, speaking to communities, organizations and change makers. It reduced my ignorance, but not that much.
Around 5 years ago, I decided to start a venture of my own. So, I hopped on a bus and decided to go back to my roots in North Karnataka. Dharma Endeavours emerged as result of my own travels, learning and experiences. It is a combination of 3 things:
At the base of all this is the firm belief that businesses are one of the most powerful engines of poverty alleviation, if not the most powerful. Yet, convention does not view them as such. In the past, this has been the sole authority of non-profit organizations. We are living in exciting times. The rigid lines of purely for-profit companies and non-profit organizations is being blurred. I believe it is for the better. Companies can no longer look at purely for-profit endeavours and place the socio-environmental costs of their business as externalities to be ignored. When first I started to think of setting up a company, I wanted to lay out what we stood for. The following emerged as the governing tenets of our work:
As far as possible, these are the pillars I go back to, in making difficult decisions about business. I know that with time, as the organization evolves and grows, they will evolve also.
I hope you will be a part of this journey, whether by booking with us, following our social media handles or just exploring through your travels your own ways of bridging the divide between people. We strive to go beyond thoughts and words to practical actions.