Monday, December 19, 2011

Conversing about Co-operatives, Kudumbashree and Tagore

Left to right: Indu Menon, Siddharth, Prof. Darryl Reed, Prof. Ananya Mukherjee-Reed, Chitra, Dr. P Gopalakrishnan, Anup Nair
On December 17th we received some exciting guests from York University in Canada. Professors Ananya Mukherjee-Reed, Darryl Reed and their son Siddharth dropped in to visit us accompanied by Anup Nair (whom they were visiting in Kerala for research on Kudumbashree). Over chai, we had a long conversation about the role of co-operatives and independent projects such as Kara in reviving rural artisanal work and economies.

Darryl also gave us some valuable insight on a Fair Trade certification process, which would help Kara Weaves broaden our client base and seek more institutional buyers for a sustainable market. Since we are in the midst of the Fair Trade certification process, this information was so timely! Ananya shared her experience talking with the enterprising and outspoken women of the Kudumbashree network in Kerala where she found women's empowerment translated into income generation and collective farming activities.

Out of a mutual respect, adoration (and a slight crush) on Rabindranath Tagore, our conversation soon veered to the social relevance of the work of this Nobel laureate and poet. Tagore was a strong advocate of co-operatives (read Ananya's article about this here) and hand-weaving, both of which are things we at Kara endorse. We concluded with some wonderful ideas for collaborations and new directions at Kara; big thanks to Anup for bringing by such wonderful people to visit with us!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Grad Students + Kara Weaves

At the office: Indu giving a small talk about the Kara Weaves story and process to the students and faculty
Last week, we were really happy to host a group of students from DePaul University Chicago and Kerala led by their faculty Prof Ramya Ramanath and Prof Vinay Raj respectively. The students were a mix of MBA and the Non-Profit Administration graduate program by both the schools.

We were happy to hear that what we had to share was of interest to both the groups of students since we are a business in the progress of registering ourselves as a non-profit organization. We prepared a little slideshow  presentation (shown below) explaining our working process and how we engage with local and international communities.

We were also fortunate enough to be joined by Anup Nair and Tony Jose, the co-founders of Local Economic Development Society (LEDS), a visionary group providing local-to-local networking for micro-enterprises across Kerala.
Anup Nair gives an engaging talk about his work

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Colors in the garden

Here are some images from the garden around our new office space in Kerala. I'm so inspired by these hues for some new prints and patterns for the fabrics. Amidst the mix of bright tones in the images, watch out for some subtle and unexpected colors like soft grays and reds.

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