Kerala: Non-resident Malayali associations in US come forward to help ailing handloom industry in Balaramapuram
Balaramapuram, the weaving capital of the state, once used to be home to more than 2,000 artisans. The number has now come down to 500. Jayarajan C, 51, has been a weaver here for over 30 years now. With 120 traditional weavers employed under him, he is usually busy during the pre-festival season, completing scores of orders from textile vendors. But for the past two years, a pandemic has affected their sales.
Much to his relief, many non-resident Malayali associations in the US have come forward to help the ailing handloom industry in Balaramapuram. The products of the small weavers will be exported to the US during the Onam season under the auspices of the Centre for Innovation in Science and Social Action (CISSA).
“To revive the handloom industry, V Muraleedharan, Minister of State for External Affairs, called a meeting with the expatriates. American Malayalees volunteered to help,” says Suresh Kumar, General Secretary of CISSA.
CISSA plans to export over 20,000 products directly from the weavers in Balaramapuram. Handloom fabrics worth Rs 3 crore will be exported in four phases. Other long-term plans include setting up a handloom village, training the younger generation and organising a National Handloom Expo.