For many affected by the devastating floods in Uttarakhand, rebuilding lives was much more than picking up the pieces. Many were forced to start over from scratch and find new means for employment. When AMMACHI Labs went to Uttarakhand to bring skill training to the region, the team was amazed at the potential of the women there. Many women excelled in product design and were creative thinkers who explored different products based on local materials. Since the region was full of cement sandbags during the flood, a few young women designed and developed a macramé bag from used cement bags. Recently, the women became involved in knitting quality woolen socks and hats. They even found wool wholesalers, developed the product design and were able to secure some international orders.
“It was a beautiful experience to appreciate the talent of students who are not aware of their potential,” says Zonal lead Yamuna Sandrine Bonin. “I felt like it was a great gift for them.” And now as doors are opening, the women have a renewed self-confidence to create other products from knitted wool. In September, several women from Uttarakhand came to Kerala to display their products at a handicraft fair with hundreds of other women from villages across India. “The women from Uttarakhand have a commendable sense of resilience,” says AMMACHI Labs Director Prof. Bhavani. “For them nothing is impossible.”
Here are some photos from the Handicraft Fair in Kerala:
Women artisans at the workshops: