Laila Tyabji is Chairperson and founder member of Dastkar, an NGO working with Crafts & Craftspeople all over India. Laila's work with artisans over the last 40 years includes the Chikan workers of SEWA Lucknow, Lambani tribals in Karnataka, Ari, mirror-work and Kantha craftswomen in Kashmir, Kutch and Bengal.
Many of her most rewarding and exciting projects involve creating new employment avenues through craft for pastoral and marginalized rural communities - bonded labor in Bihar, displaced villages in Ranthambhore, victims of insurgency in Kashmir.
Previous to Dastkar, Laila studied art in Baroda and Japan, and worked as a freelance designer in textiles, graphics, interiors and the theatre. For Laila, creating products with the craftspeople, using their traditional craft skills in innovative ways, while maintaining the unique signature of each tradition, is both a challenge and fulfillment.
She writes and speaks regularly on craft, design and social issues, and is part of numerous government and non-government committees and think-tanks on crafts, culture and development.
She was awarded the Padma Shri for her work in craft and development in 2012, and is also the recipient of the Aid To Artisans Preservation of Craft Award New York 2003: and the NIFT Lifetime Achievement Award among others.