The increase in the number of cotton mills and powerlooms has only made life difficult for M. V. Saravanan, a weaver from Ramanathapuram. “It takes about six days to weave a sari, while the machines churn out six in a day. It is only in cities that we find takers for hand-woven saris,” he says, as he points to the intricate patterns on a cotton sari woven by him. Many of his friends have even left the profession but he still swears by it.
All he asks for is a platform to display his exhibits and that is what HSBC Chennai is providing till Deepavali. Hand-made fashion accessories, jewellery, baskets, flower posts, handicrafts and bouquets made by children with disability and weavers from remote places have been displayed as part of the bank's annual initiative ‘Helping Hands Mela', at its Mylapore branch on R.K.Salai.
Apart from Sowdambigai Handloom weavers, SCARF, Yusuf Meherally Centre and Arvind Foundation are participating in the event. Also displayed are books from AID India that assist children in reading. “The shortage of special educators is felt the most in rural areas where even the numbers of children with disability is not clear,” said Sudha Athmaraj of Arvind Foundation.
N. Ram, Editor-in-Chief, The Hindu, who was present at the event, commended the bank for its sustained efforts to further the cause of social welfare. The exhibition was inaugurated by vocalist Sudha Ragunathan.
As part of highlighting the theme, the walls of the bank have been painted with symbols that reflect the cultural heritage of Tamil Nadu. “It is a yearly festival and we look forward to it. It brings our staff across the country together, and gives us a chance to be creative,” said Stephen Dique, senior vice-president and branch head, HSBC. Vipin Bharathwal, regional head, HSBC, also participated. The exhibition will be open till October 22.