Traditionally used by Indian farmers to identify their livestock, each bell is tuned to produce a distinctive chime. Made from recycled metals, artisans in the desert Kutch region of India manually cut and hammer the metal to hand-shape the bells, then coat them in powdered brass and copper before firing in kilns. Each rustic bell is then tuned to reveal a rich, unique sound like no other bell.
Due to consecutive droughts over the years, cattle breeders could no longer buy bells on a regular basis and the demand for traditional bell making was on the verge of dying. With the help of fair trade and mission-based organizations, however, at least 1,000 village artisans are repositioning this art form and earning sustainable livelihoods by selling the bells internationally. Most artisans work from their homes on local or homemade furnaces. Conscious customers, fair trade practices and a new international platform now provide disadvantaged artisans with economic stability and a respectable social standing.
Matr Boomie began in 2006 as a dream to create positive change through ethical, sustainable trade. Founders, Ruchi and Manish, sought to relieve the extreme poverty in their native India by bridging the rich culture and potential of rural Indians and opportunities of the modern world. Partnering with grassroots organizations and master artisans, unskilled women and men were transformed into community artisans. Manish and Ruchi personally ensured that the materials and processes used were safe for people and kind to the land. And in 2018, Matr Boomie was awarded the People & Planet Award from Green America. This award is given to small businesses who show dedication to a green economy and worker empowerment.