The Safe Holi Campaign: Livelihoods

VANASTREE, Karnataka

Vanastree Women Farmers Group, Sirsi, Karnataka

From the very beginning of the Safe Holi campaign, we looked for groups that could earn an income from the production and packaging of the colours. The original of the campaign, was done in partnership with Sunita Rao and Manorama Joshi of the Vanastree farmers group in Sirsi, Karnataka. Our work with them included developing recipes for the colours, teaching them how to plan for a season of production, division of labour among the various farmers involved and handling stock and inventory. We also taught them how to calculate costing and set market rates for their produce. This association lasted for eight years. During this period, the women gained the confidence to handle the project on their own, established their own company and brand and started marketing colours through networks and friends in Bangalore and other parts of South India.



Colours that were made in Sirsi, were then sent to Pune. We received a request from the Yerawada Central Prison for projects that may help prisoners to earn income. Since the packing of the colours was semi skilled work that the prisoners could easily do, we introduced this project to them. For five years, all the packaging of the Holi colours was done at the Yerawada Prison and members of eCoexist worked hand in hand with them for a few months before every Holi season. The money earned by the prisoners went towards their savings and to support their families back home.



Between 2012 and 2020, we brought the process of manufacturing and packaging of the colours to Pune, training several self help groups and helping them to earn from this activity.


Pragati Mahila Bachat Ghat

Green Tara Foundation

Pragati Foundation

Niramaya Mahila Bachat Ghat

Maher Ashram

Tulsi Mahila Bachat Ghat


In 2017, one of our young women employees, Suvarna, invited us to bring our work to her village of Ahwalwadi an hour away from Pune. She wanted to involve the women of her community and help them earn from home. We started our work in Ahwalwadi with the cloth bags production since most women knew how to sew and also had sewing machines at home. Slowly we introduced the Holi colours manufacturing to them also.