Enterprises

Kamalam Retail OutletKamalam VC Panel Print 50in x 50in(1)
Kamalam, a retail outlet of SEDAB (Sustainable Enterprise Development in the Auroville Bioregion), promotes ethical and eco-friendly products made by rural entrepreneurs.  SEDAB is part of a wider Integral Rural Development vision for the bioregion.  Its goal is to provide sustainable livelihood options for women in villages in and around Auroville.  

Amirtha Herbal Medicines

Project Partner Pitchandikulam Forest

IMG_9529Pitchandikulam has established a unit that collects medicinal plants, processes them into products, and markets these products as natural alternatives to chemical medicines.  Workshops are offered to women’s self-help groups that promote kitchen herbal gardens and teach the preparation of medicines using locally available plants.  These are efforts to support and conserve the traditional knowledge and make it once more strongly embodied in a ‘people’s health culture’.

Meera Herbal Food

Project Partner Pitchandikulam Forest

IMG_8371Pitchandikulam has established a unit that collects medicinal plants, processes them into products, and markets these products as food.  Workshops are offered to women’s self-help groups that promote kitchen herbal gardens and teach the preparation of food using locally available plants.  These are efforts to support and conserve the traditional knowledge and make it once more strongly embodied in a ‘people’s health culture’.

Surya Spirulina Unit 

Project Partners: AVAG, Pitchandikulam Forest
SprilinaSpirulina, blue – green algae, is often called a super food because it contains many of the essential nutrients required for good health.   Spirulina is grown in water tanks in full sunlight, then harvested and dried.  Pitchandikulam Forest and Auroville Village Action Group (AVAG) have created spirulina production units that involves rural women, and work to support the transition of these into a network of self-managed spirulina enterprises.

AVAL Advanced Tailoring Unit(s) 

Project Partner: AVAG

Adv.Tailoring Batch-2This project supports the training of women in sewing and tailoring.  Beneficiaries enhance their skills to meet the standards of garments made in Auroville.  Upon being trained the women are able to find skilled employment, improving their autonomy and financial security.  Some of the women have also started creating their own products, including bags and purses, becoming designers and entrepreneurs in their own right.

Cotton Sanitary Napkins
Project Partner: Eco Femme

In rural India, using cloth for menstruation is a long-standing tradition, but today disposable plastic pads are immensely popular.  This is a problem where there is no effective system to handle plastic waste.  Eco Femme assists women’s groups to manufacture 100% cotton washable pads, providing a means of ethical livelihood that supports environmentally-friendly practices.  Focus groups are held for rural women and girls to discuss menstruation, a topic otherwise treated as taboo.

Crochet Unit
Project Partner: AVAG

Auroville and its neighborhood has created several products as a hybrid of the access to large tourism markets, uniqueness of novel product designs and availability of traditional skills with the local communities. One such novel product is the decorative lampshade that is produced in large numbers in several cottage industries around Auroville and sold to the Indian and Foreign tourists in Auroville as well as other tourist parts of India. This lampshade is manufactured through hand crafting utilizing cotton thread, hand made paper manufactured in Auroville and decorative beads. In all, 13 SHG women are identified from Thiruchittrambalam village close to Auroville for this enterprise. M/s Evershine crafts, an Auroville based lampshade manufacturing unit has provided technical training to the group.

Hammock Unit(s) 
Project Partner: AVAG

IMG_7359Hammocks are a product of comfort and relaxation and much sought after in urban markets. The Hammock is complex weaving and requires quite a bit of skill to make, a well trained person may require about 2-3 days to make a hammock. But, it could provide good returns particularly if there is an accessible market for the product closeby. Ambala Hammock is a Kottakarai village based hammock making unit that has been run as a cottage industry utilizing the vast tourist population that visits Auroville through the year. The unit is unable to produce adequately to meet the demands of the market, the manufacturer has approached SEDAB project with an offer to train, provide raw material as well as market the produce of an SHG enterprise. M/s Ambala hammocks, provide technical training to the groups.

Pottery Unit 
Project Partnet: Pitchandikulam Forest

11146543_1539006463012887_998021538381512765_nThe village of Munnur has traditionally had amazing pottery skills going back several generations. However, the onslaught of the modernity has rendered much of the pottery products redundant or useless in the contemporary life. A few families of potters even today practice pottery in this village while others have moved to product making including paper mache and other products. However the prevalence of the skills provides an enabling environment for setting up of a pottery unit that designs and produces contemporary utility based pottery products. The Thiruneelakandar Mahalir Manpaandam production group has been formed inspired by the traditional pottery saint by the name of Thiruneelakandar. Through Munnur PLF, 15 traditional potter women members identified for this enterprise. The women’s group visited two pottery units run by national award winning potter in the vicinity as motivation cum marketing opportunity for new products.

 Plant Nursary Unit(s) 

Project Partner: Pitchandikulam Forest

Plant_nerseryThis initiative entails the formation of self-managed nurseries by women’s groups who are trained in growing indigenous plants of our coastal flora.  These plants are then purchased for use in eco-restoration projects.  The nurseries also supply fruit trees, medicinal plants, vegetables and flower seedlings.  Nursery trainees are taken on seed collection trips to remnant forests and sacred groves, where they learn about the trees and plants of the Tropical Dry Evergreen Forest.

Compressed Earth Blocks

Project Partner: Auroville Earth Institute

The Auroville Earth Institute provides training in the production of E-Blocks (compressed, stabilized earth blocks) and in construction methods that utilize locally available soils.  Under SEDAB, members of self-help groups are being trained to form E-Block production units.  With the support of Auroville architects and builders, it is hoped that village-based E-Block units will make this ecologically sound material an accepted option for construction in the villages.

Herbal Wellness Beautician(s)

Project Partners: AVAG, Pitchandikulam Forest

IMG_4845AVAG provides women with the training and knowledge to become entrepreneur village beauticians.  Women are introduced to well-established beauty parlours and are trained in health and hygiene.  At the Nadukuppam Women’s Centre, training is given on the preparation and application of herbal beauty products.  Through this program, rural women are able to earn a livelihood through setting up their own beauty parlors, practicing from home, or finding employment in the field of wellness and beauty care.

 Employment Based Capacity Building

Under the SEDAB Project, employment linked capacity building is provided in three streams, viz., Bamboo Products, Quilt production and Industrial technical training. Whereas the units responsible for providing Bamboo training, Beads production (instead of Quilt) and Industrial Technical Training (in Vanur block by Auroville Institute of Applied Technology have all been part of the SEDAB project since the beginning and their profiles already provided, the Swami Vivekananda Rural Community College, Keezhaputhupattu has been recently brought under the project to serve as the industrial technical training partner for the Marakkanam block.  A short note on this institute and its engagement with the project has been provided below for reference.

 Beads Based Craft

Project Partner: Rio Auroville

Coloured glass beads based jewellery and accessories are much sought after by young women and adults alike and has a consistent market demand. These products are also used to make decorative items that form part of fashion accessory and jewellery in recent times. This enterprise taps into the existing market demand and utilizes the skills available with the local communities for the same.

Bamboo Products

Project Partner: Auroville Bamboo Research Centre

AVRC_KottakaraiThe importance of bamboo as an eco-friendly raw material is gaining global recognition.  Bamboo grows quickly and has soil-binding properties.  It is valuable as a building material and in diverse other applications.  The Auroville Bamboo Research Centre trains and employs local women to make bamboo products.  In this way technology, knowledge and skills are spread among the local community.

SmallSteps – Cloth Bags

Project Partner: Upasana Integral Design

Upasana Integral Design trains rural women to manufacture the  ‘Small Steps’ cloth bags, reusable alternatives to plastic bags.  Production groups are run by  the women themselves, in their villages near Auroville and Pondicherry.  This livelihood option offers a supportive community, steady work and opportunities for the women to participate in various workshops such as energy healing and yoga.  It supports the growth of environmentally conscious habits.

Waste Paper Products

Project Partner: WELL Paper

IMG_1175Paper from waste magazines and newspapers is used to create beautiful handicrafts. Only simple tools like scissors and needles are used, making the products truly hand-made. Training includes classes on various topics including sustainability issues, marketing, costing and other business techniques, leadership skills, problem solving, maintaining records and workers’ welfare.

 

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