Tribal women in Attappadi fight odds to make umbrellas

They may be reeling under scorching summer heat in this rain-shadow region. But, fighting all odds to empower themselves, a group of tribal women in Attappadi, the most backward tribal hamlets in Kerala, is busy making umbrellas for city dwellers.

Quality umbrellas of multi-colour and designs, made by around 60 women from various settlements in the region notorious for infant deaths due to malnutrition, and other health issues, are on high demand in the local market.

Tilted ‘Karthumbi’, the Attappadi-brand umbrellas have many high-profile takers including IT hubs, Technopark and Infopark, Kochi Metro Rail Corporation, Cochin University and a number of schools and colleges across the state.

These colourful umbrellas, born in remote settlements, are now not only ensuring financial security to these poverty-stricken women and their families, but also helping them empower themselves.

‘Thambu’, a tribal voluntary outfit, has launched the initiative to help the tribal folk make a livelihood of their own.

The outfit not only has imparted training for the women in umbrella-making, but also helped them market the product outside their settlements.