Dyeing for a good cause!
Munnar—a sylvan hill station located in the Kannan Devan Hills, about 150 kilometres from Ernakulam/Cochin, in Kerala, is synonymous with natural beauty. Brinda Gill tells us how, in this land blessed by nature, there is a heart-warming project that draws
In the early 90s, there was a sentiment amongst the management of Tata Global Beverages Ltd. (TGBL)—formerly Tata Tea Ltd.—for founding a project that would judiciously use some of Munnar’s abundant natural resources—discarded by nature—and tea waste to offer employment to the local population as well as to the differently-abled children of employees of tea gardens of Munnar, Kerala. The discussions resulted in the drawing up of a plan to establish a unit producing natural dyes with locally available natural materials that would be used for dyeing and hand-printing fabrics and thus produce high quality textiles and apparel. As the dyes would be eco-friendly and yield rich, natural colour tones, the process of creating distinctive textiles and apparel would be infused with a commitment to nature and sustainability. In 1994, Mrs Ratna Krishnakumar, patron, Srishti Welfare Centre, travelled to Dhaka to attend a workshop on natural dyes. She came back to Munnar and organised a similar workshop for the local women and differently-abled children of the tea garden employees where the idea of working with natural dyes and using them to print on fabric was accepted. Thus, Aranya Naturals (www.aranyanatural.com) began in 1994. It is now, one of the four projects at Srishtri Welfare Centre, a community development project in Munnar, supported by TGBL.