Floodlit homes of Kerala!! – flood affected yarns of Chendamangalam to bring lights into old age homes as well.
During the first Chekutty Koottam at Chendamangalam, the panchayat president Sri Anoop raised a problem of Rs 40 lakhs worth yarn lying in the yarn bank where all the handloom weavers societies in Chendamangalam source their yarn from.
These can’t be used in a loom any longer, so the panchayat and the weaving societies are looking for solutions in order not to destroy the yarn. They are exploring possibilities of up-cyling the spoiled yarn, similar to what we did earlier with soiled clothes.
Since a chekutty use only 18 inch of yarn for its making, using the piled up yarn for chekuttys isn’t feasible. One of the questions posed by the Panchayat President was if we could use them for making “ammoommathiri”, a flagship product from Pure Living that Lakshmi Menon had conceived to engage elderly people confined to old age homes. The yarn given to them are made into wicks (thiri) that ensures dignity and small scale of self sufficiency amongst men and women living in such homes.
So we reached out to Palliam Vaikatthappan temple in Chendamangalam and they responded very positively to buy the wicks from us. The images below are from last week when we organised a ‘Chuttuvilakku’ in the name of Chekutty :). Weavers, panchayat officers, villagers and temple management participated in organising this. Interestingly the weavers of Chendamangalam came to the village to be the royal weavers of Palliam family many centuries ago and this gesture from the temple owned by the family is also sort of thanking the weavers for the service they rendered and for how they brought fame to the village with their exquisite skills.
There are more than 3200 temples under 5 Devaswom boards, and more than 12000 private temples across the length and breadth of Kerala. Even if one ‘Chuttuvilakku’ is conducted in a year with the new ‘Chekuttythiris’, 40 lakhs worth yarn can be consumed, and transform it into a positive lights spread across the state. While the yarn bank can recover the loss, the grandmothers can earn significantly and be engaged in ‘chekuttythiri’ production with dignity. Department of social justice department Secretary Sri Biju Prabhakar IAS has offered support to us by transforming more than 30+ old age homes into production units of Chekuttithiris. Young inmates of Nirbhaya units across Kerala are also possible beneficiaries of this projects.
As the volume of yarn is more than what old age homes and Nirbhaya homes can manage, we are seeing possibilities of Kudumbasree units also engaging in this. We are discussing the same with Sri S Harikishore IAS, Executive Director of Kudumbasree.
Who all can support this?
The cost of wicks we used for the chuttuvilakku in Chendamangalam is less than 500 rupees. So even if 8000 friends or families (out of 35 million population!!) or temples (out of 15,000) come together in the next three months to organise a chuttuvilakku, these yarns could be put to a positive use. Depending on the offerings and the size of the temple walls (number of lamps covering the wall) the temple might charge anything between 3000 onwards for the services.
As this is an offering that happens regularly in every village, it’s not something that will cause extra expenses on anyone. Only difference is that we insist on purchasing ‘Chekuttythiris‘ instead of existing thiris they use. We are also approaching five of the Devaswom boards if they could appeal their member temples to purchase Chekuttythiris for the next six months.
As Chuttuvilakku is a stunning visual, it’s a great opportunity for us locals to show how beautiful our state and villages are by sharing these visuals online with a hashtag #Chekutty #Chekuttythiri #MyKerala #RebuildKerala #RebuildBetterKerala and tag @keralatourism or similar initiatives with #hashtag of your village or location. This way we can also start another crowdsourced initiative to let the world know that we are getting back in action after floods with more positive stories and sustainable solutions.
Where can you get Chekuttythiris?
Chekuttythiries will be made available in each districts through various Kudumbasree units from 15th January 2019 onwards. The same will be available on Chekutty website as well from 15th Jan onwards.
It’s been an amazing journey so far trying to overcome floods and looking for simple but impactful solutions.