Palam Rural Centre (People’s Association for Leather and Allied Manufacturing) provides opportunities for people of the marginalized Harijan community to be gainfully employed by teaching valuable trade skills. The Harijan community are Dalits, people who were once called “Untouchables” until the Indian Government discouraged the use of that term. The word Harijan means “children of god” and the word Palam means “bridge;” which is exactly what Palam Rural Centre seeks to be: a bridge to the forgotten people, connecting them to the markets of the world.
In recent years, there has been a “boom” of sorts in the Indian leather trade. Large companies have sought to take advantage of this momentum by taking control of production and creating highly-inflated prices for goods that used to be common and accessible to many. As things started to shift in this direction, Palam Rural Centre recognized the need to shift their products so they developed vegetable oil-based soap products as an alternative.
Through the sales of their products, Palam has purchased land and homes for their artisans since ownership has been previously inaccessible to people in lower castes. Palam has also built schools for the children of their artisans, providing dignity and security for the future of their families.