Chanakya Foundation

Chanakya Foundation

Karishma Swali, Madhvi and Manu Parekh with students, 2023 © Vismay Mirgal. Courtesy of Chanakya Foundation


Lower Parel (W)
5th Floor, Peninsula Business Park Tower - A Ganpat Rao Kadam Marg
Mumbai 400013
T +91 98206 02789

A compelling need to address social, economic, and environmental issues laid the foundation for Corporate Social Responsibility at Chanakya. The Chanakya Foundation’s vision is focussed on fostering cultural sustainability and holistic advancement through education, skill development, and dedicated efforts to safeguard India’s rich artisanal heritage and promote the arts. The foundation’s mission is to empower women from underserved communities through exceptional education in hand craftsmanship, enabling them to unlock their full potential and elevate their quality of life. By instilling a visionary perspective, cultivating role models, and fostering a strong sense of community, the Foundation is dedicated to the transformation of societies.

Established in 2016 by Creative Director Karishma Swali, Chanakya School of Craft is a first of its kind. The non-profit school is dedicated to craft, culture and creating new autonomy for women. The goal for the school is to create a platform of multi-dimensional learning, focused on the arts and crafts while providing equal opportunity to an often ignored backbone of our communities: women. The curriculum teaches over 300 hand embroidery techniques through a holistic curriculum anchored through the voices and lives of historical female figures. The school has taught over 1000 women to-date, across all ages and socio-economic backgrounds forming a strong community of skilled, autonomous women. While some choose to start their own business, many find employment within the Chanakya Ateliers and creatively collaborate with 13th-generation master-artisans. 

The women pursue projects across wide disciplines, collaborating with artists such as Judy Chicago, Manu Parekh and Madhvi Parekh, fashion houses such as Dior and non-profit organisations to spread the message of inclusivity and excellence in craft. In the future, they hope to create a global network where design students from across the world can learn ways in which craft can be seamlessly integrated into art and design.


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