Staff Reporter

The mela provides an opportunity for the public to interact with the rural communities

BANGALORE: Gramashree Mela, a national-level exhibition and sale of rural products organised by the Vivekananda Girijana Kalyana Kendra (VGKK) of B.R. Hills, has specific regional products like textiles, jewellery, natural food products and handicrafts from across the country at a single venue.

Though the VGKK is organising the mela, there are other NGOs representing all corners and crafts of the country. VKKK, of course, is promoting the products made by members of the Soliga tribe.

Natural products

“All the products from honey to amla at this stall are natural forest products made by the Soliga tribe from B.R. Hills,” said Shivanna, VGKK employee.

“VGKK only helps the Soligas sell these products here, and all the money goes to the community members.”

Empowerment

VGKK, founded in 1981 by H. Sudarshan, strives to empower tribal people and improve their livelihood through education, health and financial support. Soligas are spread around Yelandur and Kollegal taluks in Karnataka and number around 20,000.

“The Soliga tribe is very poor. These products are their only source of income, and that is why we try to familiarise the public with their products,” Mr. Shivanna pointed out.

The mela, on till June 9, is an opportunity for the public to interact with the rural communities and discover the typical products from their respective regions.

Other exhibits include silk and other textiles, wooden bangles and other accessories, “pashmina” shawls, natural food products, and terracotta from Rajasthan.

On June 7, there will be “kunitha” performances at 4.30 p.m. at the venue, Srinivasa Kalyana Mahal, near Ashoka Pillar, Jayanagar.

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