It was raining toys made of coconut leaves by children and adults alike at Gandhi Memorial Museum here on Sunday.
A workshop, in an aim to promote sustainable and eco-friendly living, was held by Nonviolent Economy Network, a wing under Center for Socio-Cultural Interaction (CESCI), a non-profit organisation in Madurai.
K. Tilagarajan, a palm craft artist based out of Madurai taught the 40 attendees of the workshop. Glasses, stick man, watch, a string like article that emits buzzing sound of a bee when hurled in circles and other articles were taught.
“I have been making toys out of palm leaves since my childhood. But kids these days are exposed to plastic toys that pains me. Hence, I took it upon myself to help kids discover the craft,” he added.
A. Santosh Parthipan, a Class X student and a resident of Munichalai, said that his favourite was the buzzing bee string. “I can’t wait to try it at home and impress my family,” he added.
While S. Amutha, 45, from Anuppanadi said that the workshop tickled her inner child. “I want to make what I learnt today for my grandkids. Fortunately I have a lot of coconut trees nearby,” she smiled. She added that the workshop was relaxing and was a perfect way to spend her “me-time on a Sunday.”
Many parents with their children who attended the workshop made the toys with great interest, following the artist’s instructions meticulously for about three hours.
Making these toys has a little bit of science, mathematics and boosts creativity, said Mr Tilagarajan.
“Sustainable consciousness will only build while performing activities,” said Karthik, a coordinator of CESCI.
“The workshop is part of an awareness programme series planned ahead of a flagship event – Ahimsai Santhai, to celebrate local eco-friendly enterprises, to be held between September 22 and 26 in Madurai,” said R. Vishnupriyan, another coordinator.
As the workshop wound up, the waste comprised pieces and strings of palm leaves, which Mr Tilagarajan called as “pasumai kuppai.”
The kids left the workshop happily wearing their eco-friendly glasses with a green tiara, gifted by the volunteers.