The weavers were also happy about the idea

Both Lakshmi and Gopinath shared the idea through social media platforms and invited interested persons to volunteer their services in doll making and the response was immense. One of the seven Chendamangalam weavers’ co-operative societies, with which the doll-makers are associated, has already received Rs five lakh through online booking. We had no option but to think of something to bring back the smiles on their faces.Ravaged looms and bundles of destroyed fabric, which were all ready for Onam sales and tears of hundreds of weavers who had toiled hard for months to make them ready persuaded the entrepreneurs to find out a sustainable solution for them. That is much higher than they receive through the sale of saree," she said.Chendamangalam is a traditional handloom weaving cluster located over 35 km away from Kochi."Even after chlorination and boiling, the clothes had that stink left by the murky flood waters.So Chekutty can be read as the child who survives the mud and dirt of floods.We have only helped them clean the soiled fabric. It can also be read as the kid of Chennamangalam," Lakshmi told news agency PTI.Thiruvananthapuram: A tiny handmade doll made out of soiled and damaged fabric has become a symbol of survival and hope for a group of weavers, whose dreams and livelihood were washed away by the floods last month in Kerala."That means, dolls fashioned out of a single saree can fetch them up to Rs 9,000.With the support of hundreds of volunteers, they are now collecting sarees that had been left soiled and destroyed beyond reuse in the looms of Chendamangalam, post floods. We plan to put it up for sale at Rs 25 each," she said.A month after the deluge had ravaged Chendamangalam, a traditional handloom village in Ernakulam district, the weavers are pinning hope on Chekutty, dolls fashioned with handloom material spoiled in the floods, to rebuild their lives.. We plan to do the trademarking exercise with the support of over 500 volunteers at the Maharajas College campus in Kochi on September 30," Lakshmi added. Finally, we came up with the idea of doll making," Lakshmi said. It would become functional soon, she said.

The other things including doll making and sales are being done by the entrepreneurs.Cutting across geographical barriers, people are placing bulk orders through  websites, Facebook and WhatsApp for these dolls after coming to know about it through the media. At least 360 odd dolls can be made out of a six-metre saree. I am so happy to see that our doll has now emerged as the mascot of Kerala, which braved the devastating floods," she said.The entire amount raised through sales of Chekutty would go to livelihood programmes envisaged by the handloom weavers’ cooperative society of Chendamangalam, said Lakshmi, who runs Pure Living, a social enterprise focusing on up-cycled and recycled products.Chekutty has stains. She took many sarees home, chlorinated and boiled them to disinfect them. But the same soiled stock is now expected to fetch them much more through the cloth dolls.The entrepreneur said the beauty of Chekutty dolls is the crowdsourcing. So we had to wash the fabric repeatedly to make them safe for re-use," she said.An active participant in the flood relief work, 42-year-old Lakshmi came to know about the plight of the weavers from her friend Gopinath Parayil, a tourism entrepreneur.The Kochi-based IT hub Infopark had adopted the Chekutty dolls movement to support its sales.Cheru means mud and kutty means child in Malayalam."The scenes at the village shook both of us."The original Chekutty dolls, made of Chendamangalam handloom, will have a trademark and a small write up attached to it.She said the weavers had no option but to burn the severely damaged textile. No Chekutty would look alike.."Chekutty has scars."

A normal handloom saree may fetch Rs 1300-1500 in the market.The soft handmade dolls can be used as a key chain, wall decor or tied to a handbag and would always serve as a reminder of the sacrifices and resurrection of a state which was ravaged by a murderous flood, the entrepreneur added. The money is directly credited to the Societys account," he told PTI. Other than the basic steps on making, the painting, touch-ups and decoration is all up to the individual doll maker, she said.Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan recently came forward supporting the unique initiative.Ajith Kumar, Secretary, Handloom Weavers Co-operative Society, Karimpadam in Chendamangalam said they had already received Rs fabric manufacturers in china five lakh in their account through the online booking for the chekutty dolls..They also created a website, detailing the objective of Chekutty dolls."Its not made by one person or one organisation.The weavers were also happy about the idea as at least their months long labour would not go in vain.A mobile app was launched in Silicon Valley on September 21 to take the desi dolls to a larger global audience. But she represents each one of us who survived the floods.Demands are now pouring in from across the globe for these dolls, conceptualised and designed by two social entrepreneurs to help the weavers raise funds out of the damaged fabric stock through crowdsourcing.Lakshmi herself collected soiled sarees from the weavers and trained volunteers.

  1. Én