About an hour and a half away from Manipal University is a campus called Namma Bhoomi situated near the town of Kundapura. It’s essentially a residential school for children of primary and secondary school who community workers recognize as needing an extra hand. The point of the school is not just to aid them with their normal school education but to also equip them with life skills and vocational training. They make the most beautiful clothes, rugs, handbags, wallets and other crafts and sell them through the sister organization called Namma Angadi.
They can also choose to learn carpentry, computer technology or even cosmetology as a way to support themselves and help their family after graduation. Most of these children would have worked in harsher conditions and schooling might not have been a priority had it not been for Namma Bhoomi.
One of the best parts about Namma Bhoomi is the eco-friendly aspect. Not only is it one of the best run and truly effective non-profits, but it also takes the concept of sustainability very seriously on their campus. The kitchen runs on bio-gas from the dung of the farm animals that made the milk and eggs. The once barren land now is shaded by thousands of trees and is covered in beautiful, pesticide and fertilizer free gardens (which the kids keep up themselves). Even the homes are made by the carpenters using low-cost materials.
Namma Angadi, a three-day exhibition and sale of handicraft, hand-loom and eco friendly products will be organised by the students of Manipal Institute of Communication at , Manipal from March 1st, 2nd and 3rd 2013. Namma Angadi will include traditional garments, paintings, decorative items and handicrafts. Over 200 products including the Cotton Kurtas for men and women, shirts, tops, skirts, pochampuli, Mangalgiri and Kalamkari materials are available along with stitching facilities.
The attractive decorative items, wooden cutlery, Jewellery, cane and bamboo products, Lavancha items, terracotta items, stationery items, baskets, trays and Natural products such as Kokum, Shikakai, Aloe-Vera soaps and edibles like honey, cashews will be available at the sale.
I have visited these exhibitions every year and am amazed at the beauty of the creations. These exhibitions support and revive the rural culture that is now on the verge of extinction. All of us buy Chinese products that are cheap but we forget that the maintenance is very high and actually these products give a death-blow to indigenous products and thus the rural economy suffers. Thus it is our responsibility to support rural, tribal artisans by providing them a market. This initiative helps in promoting the works of rural artisans and gives them a platform in bringing out their talents and skills through their works.
This year I hope to make an active contribution to the noble initiative by purchasing Khadi shirts which are best for the humid Manipal environment!