About SETU Society


SETU, a step forward towards sustainable development.

SETU literally means a bridge, which help ends meet. The same holds true for “SETU-Society for Empowerment and Trade Upliftment of Artisans” (SETU-Society) which through its path breaking endeavors is helping people from the weaker and marginalized sections of the society to be at par with the mainstream world. Established with the basic aim of serving humanity; love, peace and equality are the words which define SETU. A non-profit charitable organization registered under the Societies registration act of 1860 (India); SETU has come a long way since its inception which is clearly evident from the spectrum of activities undertaken by it.

We strive for the well being of the people & the planet. The target masses for whom we work for, belong to the weaker sections of the society; underprivileged and marginalized artisans, destitute women & children, tribals, the differently-abled and the like. We dream of a world where there is love, peace & equality! Where there is no ignorance, discrimination or exploitation! Where everyone is happy, where every child goes to school, where women are considered equal to men and are no longer the victims of child marriage, prostitution, domestic violence or dowry and where people can get rid of poverty by becoming self-sustainable! And this is not just a dream as we believe that one day we can make this a reality!!

Self sustainability –our main motto

SETU believes that sustainable social development can only be achieved through economic independence, through “Trade instead of Aid”. With this belief, SETU work towards strengthening local economies and trade opportunities for the marginalized communities, putting them on a path of continuous development. SETU focus area is to create economic opportunities for artisan communities through support with product design, capacity building and market readiness training.

SETU is pledged to improve the living standards of people belonging to the underprivileged and weaker sections of the society including rural population, women, tribals, physically & mentally challenged people etc., by making them self sustainable and providing them a chance to live life with dignity. SETU develops and promotes their skills and make them independent so they no more have to spread their hands in front of anyone.

Mission & Vision

SETU Society aims to work towards improving the social and economic standing of underprivileged, marginalized & other communities in different areas of India. We are also committed to strive for improvement of educational, environmental & health related issues for general well-being of the masses by:

  1. Fostering self-sustainability
  2. Awareness generation
  3. Community Organization
  4. Training Programs
  5. Research and studies
  6. Technology improvement
  7. Development & preservation of traditional art & craft8-
  8. Extension Projects

Our vision is to create a world alleviated of poverty & vulnerability, where all humans are respected, empowered and inspired. A global community lacking any form of discrimination or exploitation, a society where trade is practiced fairly and serves its underlying purpose of supporting our people and respecting our environment. We believe, such a dream can be a reality!

Our Network / Presence

SETU-Society reaches out to a large number of people through various projects for sustainable development & activities like health camps, awareness campaigns, workshops, infrastructural development etc. across India with current networks in 16 states viz, Madhya Pradesh, Delhi, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Jammu & Kashmir, Karnataka, Arunachal Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, Bihar, Pondicherry & Andhra Pradesh.

Currently we are associated with more than 10,000 artisans, over 40 groups/communities/NGOs in these 16 states. Our partner in development acts, the NGOs & co-operatives are spread widely in different parts of India, indicated with green color in the map of India given below.

The Beneficiaries

Our beneficiaries include underprivileged & marginalized masses, rural masses, poor urban masses, tribals, women, children, physically and mentally challenged, & other weaker sections of society, specially belonging to the artisan communities.

Our Patrons

Our patrons are our guiding force. We have their valued support at all times. We feel highly privileged to have them with us.

Dr. Uma Tuli (Founder and Managing Director- Amar Jyoti charitable trust)

Dr. Uma Tuli was born in New Delhi in 1943 and was educated in Gwalior where she flourished both in academic and in co-curricular activities.Dr. Uma Tuli has a multifaceted personality of an educationist, a social worker, rehabilitation professional and a sports woman. She was the first non-bureaucrat appointed by the Government of India as Chief Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities from April 2001 to April 2005.

Dr. Tuli has a Doctorate in English Literature from the University of Delhi and completed her graduation and Post Graduation from Vikram University, Gwalior. The University of Manchester also awarded her the M.Ed in Special Education for her dissertation on “Efficacy of Integrated Education”.

She is the founder of Amar Jyoti Charitable Trust rendering rehabilitative services at Delhi and Gwalior with the holistic approach of providing integrated education, vocational training, medical care and self-employment in one premises. With this pioneering concept of integrated education, the schools run by Amar Jyoti in Delhi and Gwalior have an equal number of children with and without disability studying together. The intellectually challenged are socially integrated in the same premises as per their special needs.

Amar Jyoti’s affiliation to the University of Delhi, Guru Gobind Singh Indra Prastha University and Indira Gandhi National Open University have not only sensitized these august institutions in the country to the needs of the persons with disability but have also helped such persons get their rightful place in society. In September 2008, Amar Jyoti Charitable Trust has started a Professional Practice Certificate course in “Aspects of Learning Difficulties for children and young people with disability” in collaboration with Roehampton University, UK and accredited by Rehabilitation Council of India. The Trust is preparing to start yet another one year course in Post Graduate and three months Certificate course in Working with Pupils with Learning Difficulties in Physical Education and Sport with Roehampton University.

With special understanding and a practical approach, Dr. Tuli has introduced this concept even in sports and cultural activities. She has organized five National Integrated Sports meets involving persons with disability as well as the non-disabled in equal number in different parts of the country.

Amar Jyoti Charitable Trust has been accorded the status of National Member Organization by Rehabilitation International. Dr. Tuli is a National Secretary of RI in India.

In 2000, Dr. Tuli led the Indian team that participated in the 5th Abilympics – “the Olympics of Vocational Skills” in Prague, Czechoslovakia. After attending three International Abilympics in Japan, Hong Kong, and Prague, Dr. Tuli initiated hosting of the 6th International Abilympics in New Delhi in November 2003. Dr. Uma Tuli is an Executive Member of International Abilympics Federation.

Dr. Tuli has presented several papers in National and International Conferences. She also helped in drafting the 1995 Persons with Disability Act in India. She has authored “The Spirit Triumphs” and “Better Care of Children with Loco motor Disability”. The book “Seen, But not Heard” – India’s Marginalized, neglected and vulnerable children” also carries a chapter written by Dr. Tuli on “Breaking Barriers – Physically Challenged Children”.

Dr. Uma Tuli helped in creating a ‘first’ in the history of India’s disability sector by getting persons with disabilities to perform in Republic Day Parade celebrations in 1995. Her contribution in the Disability sector has earned her National and International Awards. The most significant of them are the National Awards for the best institution in 1991, and for creation of barrier free environment in 2005 from the Hon’ble President of India, Manav Seva Award, The Helen Keller Award in 1999, UN-ESCAP appreciation in 1998, the Hong Kong Foundation Award in 1987, Nehru Smriti Award and President’s Gold Medal in 1981 for distinctive services in Home Guards, Jhunjhunwala Award in 1998, the special Recognition by the Michigan Berkeley City and the Women Achievers award instituted by the consortium of women entrepreneurs.

She has been recently nominated, as Chairperson – Education Commission, Rehabilitation International, and USA for four years.

She is a Member – Advisory Board Voice & Vision, National Resource and Training Centre for Children with Visual and Multiple Disabilities, including Deaf blindness Mumbai, Member, Core Advisory Group on disability, National Human Rights Commission, and several other Committees of Govt. of India.

As Chief Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities, Dr. Tuli took several new initiatives including Mobile Redressal Court where at one time and in one place, Disability Certificates, Mobility Aids, Bus Concession and railway passes are distributed and at the same time grievances are addressed. Her action towards creating barrier free environment in public utility buildings, promoting inclusive education and ensuring employment have made the disability sector very vibrant. The efforts have been made with an approach of convergence of all possible resources in Government, private and public sectors

Dr. Tuli desires to accomplish her mission of an India, which places its citizens with disability on the same platform as a non-disabled citizen.

Dr. V. Purushothaman (Founder & Hon. Director of International Foundation for Fairtrade and Development – IFFAD, Chennai)

Dr. V. Purushothaman was born on 10th July 1950 at a rural village in Tamil Nadu. He has a long list of academic achievements : PhD.( doctorate) From Madras University, Master of Social work (Madras University ), Master of Commerce (Venkateswara University) and Master of Social Work Bachelor of Laws (Madras University).

As part fulfillment for Award of Doctor of Philosophy degree he conducted a research on the Topic ‘Impact of Experiential Training on Personality of Student Youth involved in National Service Scheme’

Throughout his professional career he has worked in diverse fields. Following is a list of offices hold by him:

  1. Community Development Officer in Madras Christian Council of Social Service for three years (1976 – 78)
  2. Coordinator for Community and Social Service in the grade of Asst. Professor in DRBCCC Hindu College, affiliated to Madras University for Four years (1978 – 82)
  3. Lecturer, Selection Grade and presently as Reader in Corporate Secretaryship in the same college for twenty three years (1982 – till date )
  4. Has been the Head of the Dept. of Corporate Secretaryship since 1st June 2001
  5. Also held Additional responsibility as Programme Officer, National service Scheme an extension program for University Youth sponsored by Govt. of India through which college youths are made to participate in Development / Welfare Activities , for two decades

Membership / Association with NGOs / Development Agencies :

  1. Presently Founder & Hon. Director of International Foundation for Fairtrade and Development (IFFAD), Chennai which is involved in Economic Development of Marginalized People.
  2. Governing Body Member, “Reaching the Unreached”, G. Kallupatti, Theni Dist., Tamil Nadu. an NGO working for Rural Poor providing drinking water, housing, medical care etc.
  3. Member – management committee, “Bethany Colony Leprosy Association (NGO)”, Bapatla, Andhra Pradesh for four years (till 2000) which works for curing and rehabilitation of Leprosy patients.He has countless contributions & involvement in Development Field specially pertaining to youth, rural, women & child development issues.

Mr. Pankaj Shah, Founder of Khamir- CRC and Founder member of KMVS (Kachchh Mahila Vikas Sangathan)

Coming from Kutchh, land of traditional art and rich heritage, Mr. Pankaj Shah is the Founder of Khamir- CRC (works to reposition craft and folk music in Kachchh and to revitalize Kachchh’s creative industries) and Founder member of KMVS (Kachchh Mahila Vikas Sangathan), a cooperative that aims to empower rural women in an effort to make them powerful decision makers. A commerce Graduate by education, he is a multifaceted personality with an earlier business background in financial investment and substantial interest in social developmental activities. He got associated with KMVS in his early years as one of the founder members and established Qasab, the marketing wing for the embroidery artisans of the KMVS producer groups in 1997.

2003 was a year of major accomplishments in his life with the formation of “Khamir-CRC (Kachchh Heritage, Arts and Craft, Music and Integrated Resources). KHAMIR works with a long term, holistic, and proactive strategy to revitalize the creative industries in Kachchh as well as throughout India. Initiated in partnership by Kachchh Nav Nirman Abhiyan (KNNA) and the Nehru Foundation for Development (NFD), it aims to empower craft artisans and folk musicians in an attempt to reposition craft and music in their lives.

Also known as Pankaj Bhai, his forte lies in understanding both artisans and market. His contribution towards the field of Kutcch craft is worth mentioning which can be inferred easily from the notable work done by his brain child KHAMIR-CRC. Hats off to such a great person!

Ms. Judy Frater (Project Director of Kala Raksha Vidhyalaya)

Ms. Judy Frater is the Project Director of Kala Raksha Vidhyalaya, Tunda Vandh, Kutch, India – the first design school of its kind in the world.

Ms. Frater was born in the United States and holds Master degrees from the University of Washington and the University of Minnesota. Between 1989 and 1992 she was Assistant and then Associate Curator of Eastern Hemisphere Collections at the Textile Museum in Washington D.C. She has been an exhibition and collections specialist adviser to museums in India, Asia and North America. She has been a Fulbright and Ford Foundation Fellow and in 2003 she received an Ashoka Foundation Fellowship for her work developing the Kala Raksha Vidhyalaya.

She is the author of ‘Threads of Identity: Embroidery and Adornment of the Nomadic Rabaris’ published in 1995 and has contributed many articles and papers to international publications.She has been awarded many times for her exemplary work. Following is a brief account of awards received by her:

  • 2009 : Sir Misha Black Medal for Distinguished Services to Design Education in Western Gujarat
  • “Pillar of Hindustani Society” from Trans Asian Chamber of Commerce & Industry, Mumbai
  • 2003 Ashoka Foundation Fellowship
  • 1997 for Threads of Identity- The Costume Society of America’s Millia Davenport award
  • 1992 Ford Foundation Fellowship
  • 1990 Fulbright Fellowship

Kala Raksha is the first design school to be run largely by local artisan communities. An extraordinary, nongovernmental organization, situated in the deserts of Kutch in Western Gujarat, it is an educational institution open to all working artisans of the area. It provides design education gauged to move those who produce centuries old traditional crafts from artisans who merely fulfill orders, to designers who influence the market. It aspires to introduce skills which will lead to genuine self reliance. The environment, curriculum and methodology applied in the school are appropriate for adult artisans who are the inheritors of a vast body of traditional knowledge.

The school is dedicated to providing new knowledge and skills which can be directly applied to the artisan’s own art and to encourage innovation which will make their products appropriate for contemporary markets. These aims, it could be argued, might be shared by many institutions but in Kala Raksha, Ms Frater has developed a curriculum, resources and a teaching programme to respond to the rhythm of the life of the students. Lives which must revolve around home and family commitments, combined with seasonal agricultural work and all within a society bound by ritual and custom.

The School has been recognized by UNESCO’s Artists in Development Programme and has received funding from the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and other charities.

Ashoke Chatterjee, Honorary Past President of the Crafts Council of India, has said of the project: ‘nothing like this has ever happened before – it is the first effort of its kind anywhere in the world; a design school tailored to the needs and capacities of a local community of artists using this as a force for strengthening craft diversity, as distinct from diluting tradition through training unrelated to a community or its culture. It offers a genuine context for re-vitalizing craft tradition in a contemporary setting – it provides a process of learning that goes beyond literacy’.

Legal Status

SETU-Society is registered under:

  1. The Societies Registration Act (XXI) of 1860 (registration no. 02/42/01/12910/09)
  2. Section 80G (5)(VI) of the Income Tax Act, 1961 (registration no.U/S 80G (I.T.Act): 80G/55/19/2009-10)
  3. Section 12A read with 12AA (i)(b)(i) of the Income Tax Act, 1961(registration no. U/S 12AA (I.T.Act): CIT/Gwl/12AA/54/18/09-10)
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