CHENNAI: At an art festival held recently in the city, we chanced upon an eco-friendly brand named Pasumai. Rows of brightly-coloured jewellery, accessories, and stationery caught our attention. The pocket-friendly products were all made of waste cloth featuring prints and designs. Ranging from 50 to a few hundreds, a customer had no reason to bargain with the two women at the stall.
Pasumai is a five-year-old brand based out of a village called Anaikatti, 27 km from Coimbatore. What started out as an initiative by a neighbouring school called Vidya Vanam turned out to provide employment opportunities for the parents of children studying in that school. “The school was started to educate tribal and underprivileged children in the locality. As an extension, we wanted the women of the village to have a source of income. Hence, Pasumai was founded, and a room near the premises was allotted for women as a work space. Few of the women drop out in between and currently, there are five women working,” said Prema Rangachary, director of Vidya Vanam.
The women are trained by two art teachers from Shantiniketan, who are currently working at the school. Pouches, bags, file holders, earrings, anklets, necklaces are some of the items they make. Disposed clothes from tailoring units, garment factories and those donated from households are procured and used predominantly as the base. Rest of the raw materials are purchased from a supermarket. They earn a livelihood by putting up stalls during exhibitions at schools and at flea markets in the town.
“I began working with Vidya Vanam School in 2015. Initially, the women were making jams, pickles, cushion covers, and stitching. After I joined, I taught them tie and dye colouring techniques, embroidery, batik printing, Manipuri weaving and other types of stitching,” said Somnath, the art teacher at the school.
“Our motto is sustainability. We are working towards an online portal to take the business to a larger market. We don’t spend much on raw materials and make the best out of what’s readily available. Earning is a motivation that keeps these women going,” Prema added.
Vidya Vanam is located Thoovaipathy road, Anaikatti, Coimbatore. For details, call: 9731811770 or mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Initiative by a school
Pasumai is based out of a village called Anaikatti, 27 km from Coimbatore. What started out as an initiative by a neighbouring school called Vidya Vanam turned out to provide employment opportunities for the parents of children studying in that school.