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
Tony Jose (right) looks on as Prof. Ramya Ramanath (center) and students listen in
In his talk, Anup explained various aspects of their outreach program, including examples like the wonderful Kudumbashree, a women's empowerment group that uses micro-finance tools to sustain their work in Kerala.

Ramya and the students engage in some discussions after Anup Nair's talk
After the talks and a casual series of Q&A, we continued our discussions over a delicious traditional meal from Kerala, eaten on the banana leaf.
A traditional Kerala lunch on our porch overlooking some pepper vines!
It was nice to be flooded by questions by the students; I was so impressed by their astute observations and genuine interest in learning about how we work! Here's a casual video of everyone hanging out in the studio, looking at work and discussing.

Post-lunch, we accompanied the group of students and faculty to visit our local weaving co-operative, where they had the opportunity to meet the members, watch the process and even try a bit of weaving for themselves!
Watching Mani chettan, the master weaver, while he works on the towel weave
One of the students tries her hand at weaving for a bit, while her classmates cheer her on!
It gave us a good opportunity to explain to students the problems facing the handloom sector, especially in a difficult economy. Once again, it was great to see the energy the young group brought with them, as they busied themselves with taking notes and talking to everyone.
Watching the yarn being spun, while chatting with the members of the weaving co-operative
At the end of the day, which was as hectic as it was fun-filled, we were filled with such infectious enthusiasm and energy, from talking to the students. We're ever so indebted to Ramya Ramanth and Vinay Raj for this opportunity to meet their students and to Anup Nair and Tony Jose for sharing their valuable insights with everyone!
The Kara Weaves team, the weavers, faculty and students :)


  1. i enjoy following your work, it inspires me, really! your art, creativity, blogging, pictures, marketing, and most importantly - the CAUSE. i'm so proud to tell people that i know you from high school days when we were all such goof balls :)

  2. That's such a sweet sweet thing to hear, Shweta! Through this project its been so much fun to meet new people and reconnect with our friends who share this passion. Thanks for your support, so excited to hear from you! xoxo, Chitra.


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