Monday, May 27, 2024
HomeMedia MovementPeople SpotlightEmpowering Rural Women Artisans: The Story of Pabiben and her Hari Jari...

Empowering Rural Women Artisans: The Story of Pabiben and her Hari Jari Art

- Advertisement -

Empowering rural women artisans is crucial for creating sustainable and inclusive economic growth in developing countries. Women artisans in rural communities often face numerous social and economic barriers, including a lack of access to education, financial resources, and market opportunities. Empowering these women by providing them with skills training, access to markets, and fair wages not only helps to alleviate poverty but also promotes gender equality and women’s empowerment. This, in turn, has a positive impact on the overall well-being of their families and communities. One such well-known artisan and female entrepreneur is Pabiben Rabari.

Who is Pabiben Rabari?

Pabiben Rabari is a renowned artisan and entrepreneur from the Bhadroi village in Kutch, Gujarat. She is known for inventing a new embroidery art form called ‘Hari Jari’ and for her company that produces a line of shopping bags called the Pabi Bag. Pabiben’s journey from a daily wage worker to a successful entrepreneur is an inspiring story of resilience and determination. She has not only overcome financial adversity but has also challenged the social stigma attached to working women in rural communities. Pabiben has empowered over 160 women in her community by providing them with skills training and employment opportunities. Her success has not only helped to preserve and promote traditional crafts but has also created a positive impact on the lives of many women in her community.

Pabiben’s background and journey

Pabiben Rabari was born in 1984 in Kukadsar village of Mundra taluka in the Kutch district of Gujarat. She belonged to the Dhebariya community, which is related to the Rabari Tribe, a nomadic caste of cattle and camel herders and shepherds. Pabiben dropped out of school after class four as she could not afford to commute to school in the other village despite education being free.

At an early age, Pabiben learned traditional Rabari embroidery from her mother and grandmother. In her community, it was customary for women to take embroidered pieces as dowry to their husband’s home, leading to late marriages. However, the custom was banned in the 90s, which made Pabiben want to keep the tradition alive. She started working with the Bhuj-based Kala Raksha Trust, an organization working for the preservation of art, and worked with them for 12 years.

To keep the traditions alive, Pabiben invented a new art form with the machine application of ready-made element called ‘Hari Jari’, which later became popular as ‘Pabi Jari’. She also connected women of her community and created the first accessory, a shopping bag, called ‘Pabi Bag’, which was an instant hit.

After the 2001 Bhuj earthquake, Kutch saw a rise in its economy as many companies started investing there. Pabiben started getting work from traders, who would provide her with materials and designs to stitch. After gaining experience, she began making her own products and set up her own brand and website ‘,’ which has customers from India and around the globe.

Despite facing challenges and visa issues, Pabiben participated in various international events and exhibitions, including the Santa Fe Folk Art Festival, International Buyer Seller Meet in Ahmedabad, Design Workshop with Vietnamese artisans in Delhi, and an exhibition at India International Centre, New Delhi.

Today, has won international clientele including the US-based Smithsonian Institution, Vastra, Taj Group of Hotels and Resorts, apart from museums, heritage shops, and designers.

Pabiben Rabari is also a part of the Kaarigar Clinic initiative founded by Nilesh Priyadarshi. The clinic aims to support and promote the traditional arts of India by helping artisans like Pabiben succeed in their business. The initiative also includes Jabbar Khatri, Rajiben Vankar, and Jyotsanaben.


Pabiben Rabari has received several awards and honors for her contributions in the field of handicrafts. Some of her notable achievements include:

  • Quality Mark Women Award by an Ahmedabad-based trust in 2016
  • IMC Ladies’ Wing Jankidevi Bajaj Puraskar in 2016
  • National Award for Outstanding Performance in Rural Business in 2018
  • Prerna Award in 2018
  • Mahila Shakti Award by ASSOCHAM in 2018
  • International Craft Award at India Craft Week in 2019
  • Awarded by FICCI in 2019
  • Honoured with a memento by Gujarat’s Chief Minister Vijay Rupani for her outstanding contribution in the field of handicrafts in 2020
  • Honoured with an award for her special achievements in the field of handicrafts by Wings Group Gandhidham in 2020
  • Swayam Siddha award by GCCI
  • Best Rural Entrepreneur by the Ministry of MSME, Government of India
  • My FM Jiyo Dil Se Award
  • NABARD Excellence in Business Initiative Award
  • Nari Shakti Award by Gujarat Government
  • Mahila Udhyami Award by Hari Om Ashram
  • “Zee Maha Samman 2023” award by the Chief Minister of Gujarat, Shri Bhupendra Patel – Kaarigar Entrepreneur

These awards and honors are a testament to Pabiben’s dedication, hard work, and creative talent. Her contributions have not only helped promote the traditional handicrafts of Gujarat but have also empowered women in rural areas by providing them with opportunities for economic self-sufficiency. Her achievements inspire many young women to pursue their passions and become successful entrepreneurs.


  • Pabiben started earning money at a young age by fetching water for villagers and later worked in salt pans and made lippan clay art and embroidery.
  • Despite facing opposition and ridicule from her community, Pabiben’s husband was supportive of her work and continued to stand by her side.
  • Pabiben’s determination and perseverance have been instrumental in her success, and she credits her husband for being a pillar of support throughout her journey.
  • Pabiben was a part of the promotion for the Bollywood film ‘Sui Dhaaga’ in 2018.
  • Pabiben’s designs have been featured in Bollywood films like Luck by Chance (2009) and Hollywood movies like The Other End of The Line (2008).
  • She was invited to the Santa Fe Folk Art Festival in 2013 but couldn’t attend due to visa issues.
  • She has participated in various international events and exhibitions.
  • Her website,, had a turnover of over Rs. 30 lakh in 2021 despite of pandemic.
  • She has employed 160 families from her community.
  • has international clients including the Smithsonian Institution and Taj Group of Hotels and Resorts, among others.
  • Pabiben appeared on the TV show ‘Kaun Banega Crorepati’ as part of the Karamveer Special in 2021.
  • Pabiben carries a lucky bag with her wherever she goes.
  • Pabiben was also featured in Shark Tank Season 2

And soon, we will see her in TEDxNUV 2023.

In conclusion, Pabiben Rabari’s story is a shining example of the power of women’s entrepreneurship and the importance of empowering rural women artisans. Through her perseverance, determination, and creativity, Pabiben has not only preserved traditional crafts but has also empowered many women in her community by providing them with employment and skills training. Her success serves as an inspiration to many, and her brand,, has gained international recognition for its high-quality products. By supporting and promoting initiatives like Pabiben’s, we can create a more sustainable, inclusive, and equitable world for all.

Related Articles


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here
Captcha verification failed!
CAPTCHA user score failed. Please contact us!

Spice up your inbox with sizzling updates!

Stay Connected

Latest Articles