After the devastating clouds that hovered upon Kerala cleared, the sun has finally bloomed the rays of hope and esprit. It’s been a month now since the calamity had struck the state and while humanity is gearing back on its track, simple gestures of optimism make the survival more valiant. Amid the generosity, 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 was shattered by the floods last month in Kerala.
Chendamangalam is a traditional handloom village in Ernakulam district which was washed out and is now repainting its existence on the foundation stone of faith. Faith that has kept the life together and rowed across the stream of adversity. The weavers of the town are attaching their hope on ‘Chekutty’, dolls fashioned with handloom material spoiled in the floods, to re-establish their lost courage.
The demand for these dolls is pouring in from across the globe as humanity strives through the barriers of calamity. The dolls are conceptualised and designed by two social entrepreneurs to help the weavers regain the normalcy of livelihood by raising funds out of the damaged fabric stock through crowd-sourcing.
Hundreds of people are volunteering for this noble cause as they collect sarees that had been destroyed or left soiled beyond reuse in the looms of Chendamangalam, post floods.
The co-founder of the initiative, Lakshmi Menon, assures that the product made is free from any infections. She says that they chlorinate the textile, boil it to disinfect and convert them to Chekutty, the handmade dolls. The weavers had lost their hopes and were even willing to burn the entire lot post floods as the textile was severely damaged. Now with this benevolent gesture, they will be able to fetch more profits than the original textile.
The geographical barriers are cut short as people from across the globe are rendering to this initiative through the website, Facebook, and Whatsapp. They are placing bulk orders for these dolls after the word was made public.
In Malayalam, Cheru means mud and Kutty means child. Hence, Chekutty symbolises the child who survived the mud and dirt of floods. It also means the kid of Chennamangalam.
Lakshmi revealed to PTI, “Chekutty has scars... Chekutty has stains. But she represents each one of us who survived the floods. I am so happy to see that our doll has now emerged as the mascot of Kerala, which braved the devastating floods.”
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.
Looking at the present situation in Kerala, where every person is trying to contribute to restoring Gods Own Country to its true essence, it can be rightfully said that when goodwill shines bright, the demons of darkness are washed away and humanity restores in its rightful sanctity.