Archives

How Covid-19 is wiping out India’s traditional craft-making…and millions of jobs

Narayan Desai, a traditional toymaker in India, has 1000 sheets of colorful paper – each a meter long—to make 12,000 pinwheels. It takes him roughly 200 hours of work over 24 days in order to convert the paper into that many pinwheels. In normal times, the 62-year-old toymaker would then travel to over 100 villages – covering 1000 miles to sell each pinwheel for Rs 10 (14 cents). This was Narayan’s routine for over four decades. However, in this year of the coronavirus pandemic, he managed to cover only 20 miles in eleven months. February 24 was the last he could sell pinwheels and other toys he handcrafts – earning only the equivalent of $27.00 in two days. Narayan didn’t know he would have to survive on this paltry sum for the next eight months.