|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!