Watch | Pollachi’s women master the basics of weaving

The women cut across caste, community, age and education. The youngest is 21 and the oldest, 57. For some like M. Shahida Banu, the Samarth programme (which started on April 4) has been a chance to learn something new. “None of us had seen a loom before and had no idea about weaving. Now, I go to a shop and demand to know what the yarn count of a cotton sari is,” laughs the 32-year-old, who lives alone with her mother-in-law and child as her husband works in the Gulf. She is proud that she’s proved to everyone she can learn a new skill.

For others, it’s been an opportunity to break out of the shackles of daily wage labour or patriarchal oppression at home. “I earned ₹200 a day doing hard labour from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.,” says R. Bhuvaneswari, who signed up because she would not only earn a stipend of ₹13,500 by the end of the programme, but also learn a skill ensuring a steady livelihood.

Helping the women achieve this is Mani Chinnaswamy and his wife Vijayalakshmi Malani Nachiar. Directors of Appachi Cotton, they are also the founders of Ethicus, India’s first farm to fashion brand (they grow their own cotton). In the last 12 years, the sustainable brand has not only created unique handloom saris, but has also given its weavers an identity.

Read the full story: Pollachi’s women step up with Samarth

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Printable version | May 29, 2022 12:24:56 am |