Vimala Welfare Centre
Kochi straddles the backwaters in Kerala and includes a group of islands closely scattered in Vembanad Lake. The centre in Kochi, Kerala, established in 1961, exists to meet the basic needs of marginalized women by promoting economic and educational programmes. The centre is open to all in need, irrespective of age, caste or religion. Its objective is to reach out to destitute women who would otherwise have no work, few prospects and thus little hope.The core of the centre’s work is the manufacture of banana fibre baskets, along with embroidery and tailoring. Kerala Crafts supports this work by purchasing hand-crafted baskets and baby dresses, at a higher than average price, which reflects the true cost of production.
Many of the women are the sole breadwinners and have to bring up their family alone. The support and nurturing they receive at the centre is vital to them.
This project is important because it enables the women to help themselves. Money for orders is sent up-front, so wages are assured, covering the cost of production, no matter how low the market goes. The women are taught skills tailored to their ability. Each skill is a valuable part of the final product, and as such, each member of the centre is valued.
Kerala Crafts has become part of this project by providing a UK market for the goods, thus completing the cycle and helping to enable the centre to be as self sufficient as possible.
Vimalalayam is a very positive presence in the community, and over the last 50 years has seen over 6000 women pass through its doors. As well as the workshop units, the centre provides:
'LIFE IS THE SONG - LOVE IS THE MUSIC' - a sign up on the wall at Vimalalayam