Rann Riders is aware that in order to be a sustainable tourism project the resort team has to be involved in initiatives that benefit the local society, specially communities with high artisanal skills like the weavers, embroiderers, potters, etc.
At Rann Riders, there is space provided for weavers to demonstrate their weaves like Ikat and Tangalio. Guests staying at the property get an opportunity to buy sarees, shawls, stoles and fabric pieces directly from the weavers without any commission or middle-person’s margins. The weavers benefit from getting a market for their products and the tourists get an opportunity to see weaving processes and buy the products. By doing this, Rann Riders has succeeded in encouraging weavers to continue their ancestral skills rather than having to move to other professions because of the reducing market for hand-woven products against competing machine made ones.
About two km from Dasada is a settlement of about 15 Mir families. Mirs are a nomadic community that came from Rajasthan about 60 years ago. They live in temporary homes. Mirs migrated with Rabaris, keeping relations with them according to Rabari lineages. Each Mir was in charge of a particular lineage. The system has faded into history and today Mirs do manual agricultural and construction labour. The 15 families near Dasada are economically and socially weak. Rann Riders realised that there was much potential in bettering the life of the Mir families because they are good dancers and artisans. Beadwork is the Mir forte. Employing opaque beads, out of circulation coins, bells, buttons and mirrors, they create braids, tassels, and necklaces for women and girls. Today, following design intervention by some of our esteemed guests, the Mir women use their beadwork skills to make bangles which tourists staying at Rann Riders buy. Mir families also come to Rann Riders for dance performances to entertain guests interested in folklore. Thanks to the revenue from selling beaded bangles to Rann Riders guests and performing for tourists, Mirs have now permanently settled on the periphery of Dasada and have houses rather than shelters.
Rabari women and girls do embroidery at home largely for household use and dowries, while the husbands support the house from revenue generated from livestock breeding and dairy products. Today, girls do minimal embroidery for their dowries, and have little interest in their tradition. In order to keep the embroidery styles alive, Rann Riders has supported enterprising Kharapat Rabari women who do embroidery and have gathered good examples of their work for sale, and thus supplemented family incomes.
The village safaris organised by Rann Riders also includes Ambala village where Bharvad women have now got a good market for their machine embroidered fabrics.
Rann Riders is now working with local government authorities to create a platform for artisans, improve the environment, and build facilities for tourists visiting the area regardless of whether they are staying at the resort. Among the initiatives is a craft village that will give spaces to artisans of the district to showcase and sell their works.