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Making umbrellas to fight malnutrition: PM Modi praises Kerala's tribal women

It was while speaking about the need for umbrellas in view of the rainy season that Modi mentioned Karthumbi (dragonfly) umbrellas, terming them as 'spectacular' and 'colourful'.
Last Updated : 30 June 2024, 17:58 IST

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Thiruvananthapuram: The 'Karthumbi' brand umbrellas made by a group of women in the Attappady tribal region of Palakkad in Kerala received a big promotion as Prime Minister Narendra Modi mentioned about the initiative in his radio address 'Mann Ki Baat' on Sunday.

It was while speaking about the need for umbrellas in view of the rainy season that Modi mentioned Karthumbi (dragonfly) umbrellas, terming them as "spectacular" and "colourful". He said the demand for Karthumbi umbrellas was increasing and had already reached multinational companies. He termed it as the best example for "vocal for local".

Around 30 women from the tribal hamlets of Attapadi are involved in the making of Karthumbi umbrellas. It was initiated by Thampu, an NGO working for tribal upliftment in 2014. Progressive Techies, a forum of IT professionals of the Infopark at Kochi, and online community Peace Collective are promoting the brand's marketing.

Thampu president Rajendra Prasad told DH that umbrella-making was initiated as an effort to empower women so as to address the malnutrition of children in the region, which had led to deaths.

The production facilities were set up and training was imparted to selected women by utilising government funds for tribal development. Peace Collective, Progressive Techies and forums of government officials from the tribal community helped in marketing the product. While Karthumbi umbrellas are being sold for Rs 350, products of similar quality cost around Rs 470 in the market, Prasad said.

So far, around three lakh Karthumbi umbrellas have been made. However, the initiative is yet to achieve the desired targets.

"Though 360 women were imparted training, only around 30 are actively engaged. Since the demand for umbrellas is limited, the unit works only for four months in a year. Though we plan diversification of the activities to ensure employment throughout the year, it is yet to materialise, owing to reasons like infrastructure limitations. With the Prime Minister's pat on the back, we hope to get some boost," he said.

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Published 30 June 2024, 17:58 IST

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