When a small Dalit village in Chittoor, Andhra Pradesh was plummeted into a state of drought nearly seven years back, the farmers started losing their livelihood as landowners were converting farmlands into mangroves.
As many families hit rock bottom, the women of the household decided to take matters into their own hands to sustain their families. Few women from the village came together to make and sell hand-made cloth bags , today this effort has resulted into an enterprise for those women and their families to depend upon. Known as Paalaguttapaalle Bags, their cloth bag business has boomed over the last few years.
Over the years, with the help of Aparna Krishnan, a Chennai based software engineer and Arun Kombai, a designer; these women have been able to reach to a larger audience.
During the beginning of this success story, this group of ambitious women used to source the material, procure and preserve supplies, make, pack and assert the final product all by themselves.
Their first order was of a 100 bags from a friend of Aparna’s. Initially helped by Aparna in finances, the company soon started turning profits and investing into the business.
Their range of bags includes tote bags, grocery bags, Tiffin carry bags, jewellery pouches, gift bags and so on. These women have learnt the art of embroidery, design, printing, etc., to expand the range they offer. They even cater to international orders from UK, Canada and USA.
They were even facilitated on International Women’s day by a Chennai based magazine which vouched for their products stating “These products stand out from the other products in the market because of the devotion and commitment of these women to making quality bags and keeping their customers satisfied.”
These bags do not only support the livelihood of these women and their families but they also help us conserve the environment by using bio-degradable products and shun the use of plastics on a day-to-day basis. This effort must be applauded, appreciated and followed to ensure a more eco-friendly and pro-environment stance from our side.