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The Crafts People

Mrs. Savitri, Weaver

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An interview with Savitri, the most senior weaver at Physically Handicapped Training and Rehabilitation Centre

MESH: How long have you worked here?
Savitri: I have been working in this weaving center for 30 years and my husband worked here too until he died a few years ago. He was the supervisor at the time of his death. Now I am called a jobber so Mr. Sharad who is the Manager here calls me and the other jobber when he receives an order and asks us if he thinks we can do it and how much time we need, only after discussing with us does he confirm the order. We also monitor the work done by the other weavers. After my husband died I took on a lot more responsibility. My husband and I were affected by leprosy and for us this is the work we have always done.

MESH: There are four small levers at the side of your looms which make the lovely complex patterns and which move so fast and confidently as if in some magic sequence. How did you learn?
Savitri: My husband taught me how to weave and I can do it almost with my eyes closed. Whatever you ask me to do on this loom I can manage. I have always worked with cotton but in MESH Design Studio I have learned to work with wool, without any difficulty at all. I have also taught other people.

MESH: There has been a drop in orders and we think because of the change in lifestyles your products are not as popular as before.
Savitri: We need orders because we need continuous work to manage our families. I understand we need new products. Over the years
MESH has experimented with new products I have woven new cloth for bags and belts with the designer. I will weave anything if it keeps me employed and earning. We developed some new patterns recently and MESH has ordered some running cloth in those designs to make some new products. I hope they will be successful products.

MESH: How has working here affected your life?
Savitri: I have also traveled as a result of this work. MESH has invited me to Delhi for design workshops, to showcase our skills on International Women's Day one year and last year for some fair trade training programmes. In all cases, I am able to manage far from home in different surroundings and have got to meet other fair trade producers from around India.

My husband and I were able to raise our children with the income from our weaving work and with some additional school sponsorships. My children are well qualified and settled as a result.



Savitri at a FT Training


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