The popular Kala Ghoda Festival features a special photo exhibition by actor and photographer Parvin Dabas this year. The actor, who supports Shop for Change Fair Trade, visited farmers in Kutch to capture the human element behind cotton and understand how Shop for Change helps improve their lives. The photos seek to put faces on cotton farmers, whose lives are often reduced to facts and figures about commodity prices and farmer suicides.
Currently, Indian cotton farmers struggle to earn a decent living because of uncertain and unstable markets, poor productivity, and the inability to add value to their crop.With a large section of rural India dependant on agriculture, it is critical to collectively support the cause of Indian farmers. Shop for Change has launched fair trade certification, thus ensuring that cotton farmers receive a fair deal for their produce. The certification guarantees fair trade practices, which means that farmers who grew the cotton and their families are empowered to improve their lives and care for the environment.
As part of a larger collection of photographs taken by Dabas during the 2009 cotton harvest, the first four photographs now on display capture a range of human experience that transcends the rural-urban divide: pride, smiles, concern and hard but honest work and the hope of earning a fair return.
Parvin Dabas, actor and active supporter of Shop for Change said, “In our urban Indian world, the faces of the farming families behind a new cotton shirt or kurti are often forgotten. Visiting Kutch to photograph their experiences gave me a new perspective on how we can connect. The opportunity that Shop for Change offers these farmers has the power to make a difference in their lives, empowering them to sell their product at a fair price. Having grown up in a farming community, the challenges facing Indian farmers are close to my heart. By choosing a Shop for Change certified product, the average consumer can make a meaningful contribution that helps farmers get more value for their hard work.”
Seth Petchers, CEO, Shop for Change Fair Trade said, “We strongly believe that India is ready to embrace the concept of fair trade. Shop for Change Fair Trade reconnects the consumer to farmers. Parvin's photographs capture the essence of these cotton farmers' lives and highlight the importance of our support to the cause.”