How Malayalee NRIs are helping Kerala’s ailing handloom industry

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(July 28, 10 pm) Several NRI groups are stepping up to help Kerala’s COVID-hit weavers find new global markets. That would be welcome news to people from Thirvananthapuram’s Balaramapuram village, Kerala’s weaving capital, which once used to be home to more than 2,000 artisans. The number has now dwindled to 500 with scores of unemployed artisans.

  • World Malayalee Council

The US-based World Malayalee Council is placing bulk orders to source 3,000 to 5,000 gift hampers including traditional handloom mundu (garment resembling a dhoti), kasavu saris, masks and blouse materials from weavers at Balaramapuram, which got the Geographical Indication tag a decade ago. WMC has 50 affiliated units across the world and members of these groups will be able to buy these products — and get it delivered before the Onam festival — through an online platform. For the first time ever, the weavers will directly work with the NRI body. Overall 100 consignments will be delivered to Gulf Council Countries alone.

  • Centre for Innovation in Science and Social Action

Small weavers’ products will be exported to the US during the Onam season under the auspices of the Centre for Innovation in Science and Social Action (CISSA). CISSA member Murali Kumar told New Indian Express that 32 US-based organizations have extended support for this cause. Other long-term plans include setting up a handloom village, training the younger generation in key skills and organizing a National Handloom Expo.

 

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