What is a GumCha?

GumCha — the original cotton scarf, towel, hat, skirt and air conditioner, woven by rural farming families in West Bengal, India for thousands of years.

GumCha — 100% cotton. GumCha are about 60“-68“ long and from 25“-28“ wide, yet weigh less than 4 ounces. There are tens of thousands of distinct patterns and color combinations, and because they are handloomed, each is unique.

GumCha — with a history extending over millennia and a geographical range spanning ancient Mesopotamia to modern Cambodia, GumCha are known by many different names and spellings: Gamchha, Gamucha, Gamosa, Dismal, and Krama. In Bengal where our GumCha are made, we use the closest English phonetic spelling.

A GumCha is more than a scarf, towel, air conditioner or skirt. It has been the traditional gift for guests in India’s rural communities since Buddha walked the trails leading through the service area of the GumCha4Health project. Still today, in many rural areas, when a guest arrives, the ritual of adoroni or ‘welcome to the loving fold’ is done, and a GumCha is bestowed around the neck of the visitor.

Introducing GumCha to North America and Europe is not a simple task. 

Basically, no one in the West knows much if anything about GumCha.  So, our only hope was to turn to the very people who use GumCha every day and ask them to explain how a GumCha is used.

We explained the problem to a classroom of young women in the nursing school that this project supports. They all agreed to help and below is the result. 

A GumCha is a highly valued tool for hard working people.

How To Use GumCha:

Just click on any photo in the galleries and view the slide show.

Send a GumCha to a friend Today and help save a 2,000 year-old Tradition.

What We Do With Your Support

Train Community Health Workers Serving Rural Villages
Triple the Income of Traditional Weavers
Provide Health Services to Rural Communities
Deliver the Woman and Man Power for Health Programs

A GumCha is the most simple and humble piece of cotton cloth. It has been woven by farming families across South Asia for thousands of years.

Weavers make GumCha for people who work hard, who are in the sun and cold, who need something to wash with, to dry with, to wipe away the sweat of the day. A GumCha is a valuable tool. In the rural areas of West Bengal where this project is located, working people spend a whole day’s wage for a GumCha.

GumCha4Health, LLC is a social business designed to provide a self-sustaining funding source to support programs for:

1.  Community-based healthcare and health education for poor rural farm laborers, subsistence farmers, their families and their communities.
2.  The development of the rural farm economy in our service area by tripling the income of subsistence farmer/weavers for weaving GumCha.
3.  Projects that address the health issues of the rural poor, and the economic and educational needs of agriculturally based communities.
4.  The creation of a dependable international market for a unique, useful, handmade product, by introducing GumCha to the Americas and Europe.