Among 47 women, who will receive their graduation certificates at a function in Pollachi on Saturday, are 21-year-old S. Priyadarshini and 57-year-old Tamilarasi Kulanthaivel. They were classmates for a month-and-a-half and learnt to weave fabrics on handlooms recently.
Appachi Eco Logic Cotton trained the women in handloom weaving under the Samarth Scheme (for capacity building) of the Union Government. The trainees, all of them women, were from places in and around Pollachi and were new to handloom weaving.
“Many youngsters in the traditional weaving families are moving out to other jobs. There is fatigue among them and they want to diversify to new fields. Over the years, we have tried to get more weavers for our company. But, it is very difficult. Hence, we decided to train women under the Samarth Scheme from the non-weaving families,” says Mani Chinnaswamy, Managing Director of Appachi Eco Logic,
The women attended theory and practical classes in two batches every day for 45 days. Each trainee received a stipend of ₹13,500 directly from the government during this period. Among those who enrolled are women like Priyadarshini, who is a graduate, and Tamilarasi, who runs a petty shop. All of them are from different backgrounds. The government has framed a basic syllabus for the programme. But, the women evinced interest and Appachi organised tapestry classes too. “Their works are so good that there are companies that are ready to give orders now,” he adds.
The candidates took an examination recently and all of them passed with good scores. They will receive their certificates on Saturday.
Appachi is looking at recruiting some of them and is also working out a project to form a weaver producer company. “The company will be called Ezhuchi and it will be revolutionary if it emerges successful. At least half a dozen Corporate companies will soon sign agreements with the producer company to give regular orders,” adds Mr. Chinnaswamy.
Appachi already has candidates filled for three batches of training. “In some of the families, the bread winner had lost his job during the pandemic. The women want to learn and take up weaving. They are so enthusiastic and a few are ready to set up own looms too,” he says.