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Language of creativity

The Sadhana Rural Foundation works with women in rural areas to fashion a range of eco-friendly artefacts


A QUIET revolution has been taking place in rural Tamil Nadu thanks to the partnership between the government, NGOs, voluntary agencies and women craftspersons. As a result, what we get to see are skilfully woven palmyrah mats in bright hues, shopping bags, reed and screw pine mats, wall hangings and boxes which make a classy lifestyle statement.

The Sadhana Rural Foundation (SRF), a trust founded by Stree Seva Mandir, an NGO, has worked with these rural women for more than two decades in the areas of craft development and marketing. It has trained girls in hand block printing, mat weaving, batik, embroidery and appliqué work.

At the SRF centre in Malathur, designers, artists and textile experts from the Weavers Training Centre, Chennai, hold workshops and demonstrations in the introduction and `melding' of new designs, vegetable yarn dyeing and product development. Recently, a training and design workshop on painting and embroidery was conducted under the aegis of Aid to Artisans, U.S.


As for the products, the range comprises colourful korai grass mats and table accessories, shopping bags, spectacle cases, thombais, banana fibre and reed grass accessories, tie and dye mats and wall hangings, embroidered and hand painted bags. The jute bags and wall hangings are developed by the SRF in conjunction with NABARD. A chic screen with a textured feel is another product that has caught the imagination of many a craft connoisseur.

For Natarajan, secretary, SRF, the partnership between the rural women and the NGO is as much about weaving functional eco-friendly products as enriching the lives of the women. Today, many of these women earn up to Rs. 1,000 per month.


The SRF's products are available at the Design Store (C.P. Ramaswamy Road), Poompuhar and VTI, both on Anna Salai.

PUSHPA CHARI

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