Making bedrolls out of PPE scrap! After ‘Chekutty dolls’, Kerala social entrepreneur Lakshmi Menon embarks on new mission

By: |
August 27, 2020 3:36 PM

A small unit of women employees in Kochi are making bedrolls and mattresses for COVID-19 patients from scrap!

Bedrolls from PPE scrapA small unit of women employees are making bedrolls from PPE. scraps!

COVID-19 impact: Making bedrolls out of PPE scrap! A small unit of women employees in Kochi are making bedrolls and mattresses for COVID-19 patients from scrap! In fact, Kochi-based Lakshmi Menon, known for pioneering the famous Chekutty dolls, has been quoted by ANI tweet as saying that the unit of women employees are making braids from scrap, which are thereafter joined together to make a proper bedroll. According to the ANI tweet, the scrap comes from the remnants of PPE for COVID-19 patients at the state-administered First Line Treatment Centres.

Not only are these highly useful amidst the coronavirus pandemic but given that regular mattresses are not easy to disinfect in most homes, these bedrolls can be washed thoroughly with soap. These are totally virus-free after a wash, Lakshmi Menon has been quoted as saying.

With unique and easy-to-implement sustainable solutions like this, there has always been a display of resilience when challenges arise.

When ‘Chekutty’ dolls became Kerala’s symbol of resilience

Lakshmi Menon has also played a pivotal role in shaping ‘Chekutty’ dolls, a symbol of hope across the globe. An inspiring example of Kerala’s famous ‘Chekutty’ dolls emerged as a demonstration of the state’s resilience. Made from soiled scraps of cloth that were damaged thoroughly due to the 2018 floods, the unique Chekutty dolls won global accolades and recognition from across the country. Best of all, these dolls are still witnessing considerable demand worldwide.

There was considerable outpouring of grief and helplessness among weavers due to the massive destruction caused by the tragic 2018 floods.

The floods had completely wiped out the readymade stocks and yarn bank of Chendamangalam, leaving them in complete shock and despair.

Not knowing what the way forward is, the innovative concept of making ‘Chekutty’ dolls displayed Kerala’s creative yet unique response to addressing the issue of building Chekutty dolls, not merely as a product or a brand, but as a beacon of hope and resilience for Chendamangalam’s weavers.

The official website of Chekkutty dolls explains the vision behind the creativity: ensure dignity to weavers who are unemployed in the aftermath of the devastating floods. When livelihood is lost, several questions emerged such as how will their families survive? Weavers are typically paid per piece that they produce and they do not enjoy the luxury of earning a monthly salary. To stay in employment itself is a challenge.

‘Chekutty’ dolls showed the creativity that spurred on the affected weavers as they sprung back into action. Soiled textiles are cleaned by weavers using freshwater and chlorine. On drying, it is picked up by volunteers.

The unique innovation underlying Kerala’s Chekutty dolls is simple yet remarkable – from a six metre saree, the weavers can maka 360 Chekutty dolls! With each doll having a basic price of Rs 25, the selling price of the saree, the actual selling price of this byproduct becomes Rs. 9000, the official website of Chekutty dolls indicates.

As Brene Brown’s famous words go, “Vulnerability is the birthplace of innovation, creativity & change.”

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