The situation of many tribal families in rural areas is critical. One of the main issues is malnutrition – due to qualitative poor food and a critical income. To empower families and this also nutrition on to all sustainable income sources and micro- enterprises are needed.
Last day I came across an NGO, Thampu, who has started an umbrella making unit for tribal mothers. It was started in 2016 associating with Peace Collective an online community of Malayali youngsters who contributed Rs.100000/- as a loan.
Start small, grow big!
“With this money a few people got trained on how to assemble the umbrellas, bought the raw materials and produced the umbrellas at home in the villages”, explains the coordinator.
In the meantime this money has been paid back. The demand is there. It’s still a seasonal business, but there are already more ideas on how to give more work to the women, even in the dry season.
In general, in the Umbrella industry, the employees get around Rs.300/- per day. But here each tribal mother is getting Rs.500/- per day other than other benefits from the profit. The entire profit out of this project is used in the welfare of tribal communities in Attappady, Kerala. Last year the Kerala Government supported the initiative by providing Rs.1640000/- and this year government provided a temporary production center at Agali.
The women produce ca 10 umbrellas a day with eight pre-fabricated items. Now a storage room has been given to them by the local government …
In a next months there will be a lot of work coming up. Monsoon season is starting. In the meanwhile the coordinator is in contact with Indian companies. A few have ordered umbrellas for their employees.
We are running here a lot of activities under the Making More Health Initiative and we have started to discuss on how to make the branding and marketing even better for Karthumbi. Because health is not just education and awareness building, but also about financial empowerment through microenterprises.
By the way: Karthumbi is the branding name of this initiative. It goes back to the first youth clubs the NGO has built and means Dragon fly. Dragon flies appear when it rains. So, lets hope to have more dragon flies around!
What about your company? If you are interested to order some umbrellas, please contact. Your contribution will be very helpful to all.