As we all know the COVID19 pandemic has caused trouble across all sectors of work. Most weavers earn their income by selling their creations. While the best way to support the handloom weaver or any artisan for that matter is to buy from them, this lockdown has brought their work to a complete standstill. Some of them don’t have enough yarn to even keep themselves occupied during this time. They are unable to procure more raw material which means even after the situation becomes “normal” they have no immediate relief.
The 85 weaver families we are associated with, in Kurinjipadi and Theni, are stuck in this unprecedented situation.
Kurinjipadi is a lungi weaving cluster in the Cuddalore district of Tamil Nadu. The weavers are specialised in weaving a multitude of stripes and colours. Mr. Sekhar, the master weaver is enthusiastic and indulges our experiments. He has about 50 weavers working with him.
Aharam Weavers is a producer owned company situated in a small village by the foothills of Kodaikanal in the state Tamil Nadu. They are well established in the Fair Trade Movement, and are always keen to evolve and grow in their work.
Kaskom has been involved in both the clusters to develop products using the Karungani (organic indigenous) cotton of Tamil Nadu. I have always been interested in weaving activities and I visited the Kurinjipadi cluster with Swami earlier this year. We initiated a project with the Kurinjipadi cluster just before the lockdown which we are hoping to restart soon.
Our association with these artisans has motivated us to raise funds for them and we hope that we can all meander through this together. We’ll ensure that your contribution goes towards reviving the spirits of these gifted artisans.
We made a quick back-of-the-napkin calculation and we estimate Rs. 3,000 per family is required to cover the most basic essentials for the next few weeks. Your contribution will enable them to buy basic essentials like rice, pulses and vegetables. It will also help them take care of any pre-existing medical expenditure.
I seek your big-hearted patronage at this delicate moment. Do pledge your support for as many families as possible.
INTERIM UPDATE (May 3, 2020):
Swami and I started the fund-raiser with an aim to help two weaving groups in Theni and Kurinjipadi with a target of Rs. 2,55,000. Thanks to the overwhelming contributions, we have crossed our initial target and have reached out to other artisan groups – Lambadi artisans of Tiruvannamalai (Tamil Nadu), Weavers of Sathanur in Kanakapura district (Karnataka) and Irinave weavers Cooperative of Kannur (Kerala).
We have distributed the funds to all the groups. But the Irinave Weavers Cooperative of Kerala is a large cluster of 175 weavers and needs all the support that they can get. We are still open for contributions. Do pledge your support with whatever amount that is possible.