Ten amazing women from the Aiswarya Kudumbashree unit in the 15th ward, Chittethukara have come up with a unique idea to help the handloom industry in Chendamangalam, which was severely affected by the recent floods. They have purchased the handloom sarees from the weavers and made maps of Kerala with it. These handloom maps would then be sold and the money collected would be handed over to the weavers at Chendamangalam.
It has only been 2 months since the Aiswarya Kudumbashree unit was started. Usha, the president of the unit said that they came up with the novel idea as the members wanted to do something unique to help the families hit by the flood. She admitted that the incredible success of the Chekkutty dolls have, in fact, inspired them to help the handloom industry.
Initially, it was decided to buy the clothes which were damaged in the flood. However, those clothes had to be bleached and repaired before making anything with it. But, as beginners, it was difficult for them to revive the damaged clothes. “We decided to buy new sarees by spending money from our own pockets. We make maps with it and the money collected by selling these maps are contributed to the weavers' families. It cannot be hailed as an extraordinary service. However, we are determined to help them,” said Usha.
The shape of Kerala's map would be sketched on the saree first and then cut it out. The outline of the map would be printed on A4 sheets and then the cloth maps cut out from the sarees would be pasted on it. These maps would be laminated and attached with a string, to hang it on the wall. The handloom maps cost Rs 100 per piece.
Usha said that they have been able to achieve so far as all the members of the unit are cooperating wholeheartedly towards the cause. Around 350 maps could be made from a saree. “There are many who mock us or doubt whether we give the weaver's, the money equivalent to the number of maps made from a saree. We are not doing this to earn an income. In fact, we have purchased the sarees on our own. Sometimes it is not possible to make 350 maps, as we do not use the border of the sarees. Besides, all the maps wouldn’t be as perfect, as there are many of us who make the maps. So those which are not perfect would be avoided. Even if we make 350 maps from one saree, it is not easy to sell all the maps,” Usha explained.
Usha stressed that their primary responsibility is to make maps from the all the sarees they have already purchased, rather than earning an income out of it. She said that the Kudumbashree unit is ready to make handloom maps on order as well. As the unit has been functioning only since the last 2 months, it would take some more time for it to avail loans, to start another venture which would actually earn profits for the unit. The Kudumbashree officials and the panchayat too are encouraging the unit in its efforts to support the weavers' village. Panchayat member Jibeesh and CDS officials Shantini Gopakumar and Sumati support and encourage the Kudumbasree members. Ushadevi, Leela Antony, Ancily Poulose, Jeena Krishnakumar, Geetha Babu, Pushpa Shaleedharan, Alfonsa Jose, Beena Varghese, Elizabeth Mathew and Shiji Antony are the members of the Aiswarya Kudumbasree unit.