“They live in the Nilgiri hills. It’s not really an easy life. The Kurumbas are one of four different tribes living here in this region in Tamil Nadu. The Kurumba are hunters and medicine men, but arts play an important role in their life, too”, tells me Rema, a friend from the city of Coimbatore, when we meet for a tea.
Rema is very engaged in supporting them: She collects money for a tribal governmental school where Kurumba children get a chance – at least up to the 5th standard- to get a basic education. “When the children are at school – many of them need more than two hours to get there – they get some milk and till a few days back also two biscuits. But there is no money for the biscuits any more. We need private sponsors. Many of the children are malnourished…”, she adds.
The Kurumba are famous for their arts, too. Their paintings and stitching skills are really good. “But the income they create out of it, is not enough. They need much more to conduct a decent life, to be able to pay the school fees for the children even beyond the age of 12, to get the right and sufficient foods for their families,” explains Rema.
Kurumba art is a unique tribal art form found in the Nilgiris.
Developments of the twentieth century have resulted in the Kurumbas losing their forests , thereby losing their values and identity. Many of them struggle with alcohol addiction. And the have lost nearly their very traditional and very high developed arts skills. Fortunately, a foundation could help to preserve some of these skills.
Today, Sundapatti and Velleri Kombai – which cannot be accessed by road, the nearest being 2½ kilometers away – are filled with Kurumba artists.
“The art are primarily ritualistic, describing various facets of tribal life in the remote forests of the Nilgiris. We see the Kurumba huts built of leaves and wood, women drying foodgrains, men collecting honey, weddings and rituals, earthen pens for hens, and wild animals prowling the forest.” (Source: http://www.kurumba.in)
Rema wonders if together we could work on a better solution to make more health happen for the Kurumbas.
Some ideas are there:
- First of all we need some sponsors who help the school children to get back the biscuits and if possible even more nutrient meals – on a regular basis. Per day around 10 EUR are needed to buy these biscuits. If you see an opportunity to help, please let me know!
- It would be good to identify also additional ways on where and how to sell their arts. Digital skills and basic knowledge on business opportunities, e-commerce and marketing could be a starting point. All of these needs are not too difficult to fulfill, the training units are already in place due to the work with selfhood groups and anganwadi teachers I’m involved in. Here we need sponsors to buy a few devices and to make sure that the Internet flat can be covered. As well as the organization and implementation of some training units for some Kurumbas so that they could sell their items on d commerce platforms and market them differently.
- It would be helpful, too to buy some Kurumba arts.
Just have a look at it.
If you are interested, please contact.