Teamwork at its best

Beautiful invitation made by Shruthi

Working in a project management capacity with very exact, tangible results has several benefits, as it becomes much easier to measure your results. Whether it is in number of registrants, people affected or items sold, you can very quickly analyze your impact. In my case, we are tracking the amount of traffic to our campus, and the kind of feedback we are receiving in our visitor’s book. The traffic ebbs and flows, and I’m not satisfied with the number of people that have seen the exhibition so far, but the feedback we are receiving has been fully positive–from tourists, experts, locals and students alike. Most importantly, the artisans for whom we devoted our time, energies and efforts, have appreciated the work, been inspired by it, and many of them have already directly benefitted from it.

My project, a museum-style exhibition on bandhani, a textile technique that plays an important role in Kachchh’s cultural economy, had a set of goals that included topics researched, artisans interviewed, number of pieces displayed, and an inauguration date. The team had big plans, a limited budget and even less time. We faced multiple challenges that we had not planned for, like heavy rain (in a desert), a crashed computer, funding concerns, terrible electricians, and most important of all, a team that had not designed an exhibition of this scale before. One of our coworkers was also getting married, with events on Jan 17th and 19th, and of course, everyone wanted to attend the event on the 17th.

Every single member of Khamir’ staff, from the cook to our admin team to our director, worked overtime to help make this a success. A small group (including my awesome roommate, Parul!) spent the night at Khamir while others came in on Sunday to help me. Our very talented artisan teams also filled in gaps, with the weaver stepping in for the electrician, the women working on our recycled plastic project stepping in for tailors, and the production team helping with textile display. This kind of team effort and support was not something I have experienced before, especially as I come from a fiercely competitive corporate work environment. It was a heartwarming experience, and despite not being able to cross off everything on my list of goals, I am pleased with the end result, and congratulate the Khamir team on an exhibition that they should be very proud of.

Khamir is hoping to travel this exhibition to other cities (fingers crossed!), for now, here is a sneak peek into our work:

(credit: Jeremie Gaudin for the awesome pics!)

January 18th 2013: Inauguration Day!
Bandhani: An Introduction
Bandhani: The Process
Leading our chief guests through the exhibition. This photo made it to the local newspaper!
Looking into the Bandhani: Today room


Finally, here is a link to all the pieces that we have kept as part of an Auction we are having–in person at the exhibition and online.

All the pieces are made by artisans we met along this process and are all masterpieces. Please bid on whatever makes you happy, and if you win the bid on March 15th, we will send you the item wherever in the world you call home 🙂


Jilna spent the first half of her life in Nairobi, Kenya, and then moved to the suburbs of Washington DC for high school. New York City was home for five years as she worked towards fulfilling her dream to work in the entertainment business. A career in television led her back home to Maryland, and her involvement with South Asian organizations--both personal and professional--remained a constant through these transitions. Additionally, she spent her spare time volunteering with small organizations, and also joined the board of a local non profit for the chance to aid a group with a different mission. Despite having deep connections to her culture, Jilna has never visited India, and is thrilled with the opportunity to live and work in India supporting Khamir's initiatives for the coming year.

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