Ruma Devi is a popular traditional handicraft artisan and a social activist from Barmer Rajasthan. She is the President of ‘Gramin Vikas Evam Chetna Sansthan Barmer,’ an NGO in Rajasthan.
Ruma was born in 1989 (age 30 years; as in 2019) in Barmer, Rajasthan. She dropped out of school when she was in 8th class.
Family, Caste & Husband
She belongs to a Hindu family. Her father was a small farmer and her mother died when she was 5 years old. She lived in a joint family, and after her father’s second marriage, she was brought up by her paternal uncle and aunt. She has seven sisters, and she is the eldest among them. She got married at the age of 16, and in 2012, she was blessed with a son. Due to financial constraints, her son was not provided with proper medications, and he died when he was one and a half years old.
She was married in a poor family, so, she decided to do some work for earnings. Her grandmother taught her embroidery and sewing. She made a group of 10 local women (with the help of Mahila Baal Vikas Group) and collected Rs. 100 from each member and bought a sewing machine. Under the guidance of a social activist named Vikram Singh, they started making cushions, bags, and garments. Later, more and more local women joined them and their group of 10 members increased to 22000 women.
On 14 July 1998, she started Gramin Vikas and Chetna Sansthan (GVCS), a self-help group. The main motive behind forming this group was to work for the empowerment of women artisans. The ladies in this group are well versed in different styles of handicraft including Kantha stitch, embroidery, patchwork and other fabric printing techniques. Ruma Devi is the President of this self-help group.
Her work has been appreciated at both national and international platforms.
Products made by her group is available at the website shop.directcreate.com.
In 2015, her handcrafted garment collection was displayed in the Lakme Fashion Week. In an interview, she said-
My traditional wear, my yearning for Barmer can never waver. Its uniqueness has made me what I am today. I can never outgrow Barmer or my desert state. That is why I decided to locate my new shop, launched last year, in Jaipur instead of Delhi.”
Awards & Honours
- Shilpa Abhimani Award by the Govt of Sri Lanka: Promotion of handicrafts
- Honour by Women on Wings Netherlands (2016)
- Honour at Germany & Singapore Fair (2017): Promotion of handcrafted products
- Export Promotion Council for Handicrafts, Textile Ministry of India (2018): Exemplary work in the handicraft sector
- Nari Shakti Puruskar (2018)
- Featured on the cover of “India Today Magazine” (2018)
- World CSR Congress (2019): 51 most impactful innovators (A Global Listing)
- Food: Rajasthani Cuisines
- The ace fashion designer ‘Anita Dongre’ had called Ruma to showcase her collection in the Lakme Fashion Week (2012), but she rejected the offer as she was not confident to be on such a big platform.
- Her work was appreciated by the British Patchwork and Quilting Magazine. She had displayed her work in fashion weeks held in London, Germany, Singapore, and Colombo.
- She said in an interview that her real-life story is quite similar to the Bollywood movie ‘Sui Dhaaga’ (2018).
- Actor Varun Dhawan bought chanderi silk dupattas from her which he gifted to his sisters.
- She was featured on the cover of ‘India Today Magazine (2018).’
- She was seen in the ‘Karmaveer’ episode (20 September 2019) of Kaun Banega Crorepati 11 (2019) in which she gifted her artwork to Amitabh Bachchan. She was supported by the Bollywood actress Sonakshi Sinha in the show.
Sony Entertainment Television ಅವರಿಂದ ಈ ದಿನದಂದು ಪೋಸ್ಟ್ ಮಾಡಲಾಗಿದೆ ಗುರುವಾರ, ಸೆಪ್ಟೆಂಬರ್ 19, 2019
- She wishes to set up a college where students can learn traditional handicraft work.