Ananthoo's updates

When all trees have been cut down, when all animals have been hunted, when all waters are polluted, when all air is unsafe to breathe, only then will you discover you cannot eat money. - Cree Prophecy

Friday, April 22, 2016

Tula, Weavers and the interesting progress.

When we started Tula, we didn’t really know it was so tough and tedious..that there were so many livelihoods entangled and before the output came from the farm produce there was so much to be done, so many lives to be touched.
Today we are very happy for what we have done..for what we have understood..for what we have contributed..for what we have bettered!
So many livelihoods..touched, empowered and bettered..

Tula stands tall and proud today..having been so unique and innovative: Rainfed organic desi cotton, hand spun,hand woven, natural dyed, manually stitched (and to smaller extent embroidery by tribals !)..
Now it is one of its kind social enterprise..that every time one sports a Tula they can be very proud of touching so many livelihoods,  for supporting an ethical social enterprise and for sporting the lightest n most ecofriendly garment ever!

Weaving is the 2nd largest  livelihood in India next to farming and its only very natural that we, a set of volunteers who started working with farmers, sustainable agriculture and safe food, got in to the cotton value chain! A weaver, for all the hard work that they put in, can earn only around Rs 4000/ a month. They get approximately 120-150 a day.  So why even continue it where there is no self esteem nor economy?
So 1000s of them got displaced..and a majority of them migrated to near by towns and cities doing undignified work and lead a very pathetic life and still feel that is a better situation than continue weaving.

What a shame. A sad statement on the humanity. A society that just did not care. Governments that just didn’t bother. And mind you, what ever govts do (if at all) today, they just cannot revive this fantastic  art/skill.  1000s have shifted from each district. Most looms have been dismantled. Sold or destroyed.
Khadi was a tool that Gandhi used very effectively. After all he saw that as a fantastic tool to enable a distributed and decentralized economy. A tool that would enable more local livelihood and strengthen local economy! And lo! We have lost it..
While some fools like us will try all out to revive it, to restore as many artisans as possible and ensure its alive and kicking. It is not easy. the upscale is going to take time.

During the journey we found it was not going to be easy. How much money is good enough? If I have to compare to my fields of experience of yester years (Telecom and IT)- man, nothing is worth.  How we were showered with nasty vulgar money for no sweat and here folks would sweat it out all day and what skill! Two times the market rate for weaving was still not good enough. Wasn’t fair..but those still continuing this were happy. Tula decided to give three-fold.  And let me assure you that its nothing! Best case scenario a person can earn Rs450 a day after 10 hours of real hard work. And it was not easy. As we chose to work with existing weavers and groups that worked with weavers. That meant we cannot go and disturb the existing pay structure. After all these groups were struggling too..
We were working with weavers (groups) in TN, Karnataka and Maharashtra as we wanted the whole value chain to be around where the cotton was grown. Our best facility was (and is) Janapada Seva Trust at Melkote. Till date the best of Tulas fabric have always come from here. Slowly we raised it to 3 fold out here. Today all 10 looms at this centre is running for Tula. Some youngsters (yes 18-20 year olds!!) have come to take it up as a viable livelihood. As a dignified and better employment option!
see the photos of our happy weavers. But can u see that they are all sporting synthetic dresses? yes, fair compensation and paying fair price means the output (garments) will be slightly expensive. No, Tula aint costly. infact in the market, garments with just one of these features are priced more than Tulas'.  But these weavers cannot afford it. It is sad and will take long. Infact I spent some time explaining them where the fabric they all weave goes to and why its not affordable for them.

coming back to Tula and JST and the revival of weaving as a viable - economical, ecological and esteem option, it is working. Thanks to santosh Koulagi and Sumanas Koulagi’s efforts, its so heartening! Wardha is showing such signs too. Last time we were there some young women showed interest to come learn and make it a living for themselves..
So its all happening my dear friends..thanks to many of you who supported this: by investing, by volunteering, by encouraging, by buying..
We at Tula are thankful and very happy..we shall do it.. we will make the right impact..we will take this forward..Join us in what ever capacity you can.
Volunteer/Spread/Invest /Replicate

see photos here:


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