'Covida' Doll By Tamil Nadu Women Artisans Spreads Message Of Hope
The Covida dolls are low-carbon footprint products, their manufacturers say
A small cloth doll named 'Covida', designed by the Lambadi women artisans in Tamil Nadu has turned into an inspiration, spreading a message of hope and positivity amid the gloom of job losses and sense of uncertainty brought on by the coronavirus pandemic.
The artisans from scenic Sittlingi valley in Dharmapuri district, were among the tens of thousands of men and women around the country to be affected by Covid but faced the crisis with grit and courage. They say they want this handmade doll to spread their story and inspire the country.
Priced at just Rs 21, around 7,000 dolls have already been sold, with many planning to use it to adorn Christmas trees. The dolls are made from scrap pieces of cloth and come hand embroidered.
The dolls can be pinned to lapels as a badge of honour or attached to gift hampers, or even used as a decorative item around your home.
A Rs 12 lakh loan taken out by the women's collective - PORGAI - soon after the lockdown was announced in March proved a gamechanger for the 60 members, most of whom are uneducated.
The Covida doll is made by Lambadi women artisans in Tamil Nadu
The funds helped them buy fabric and provide work for all of them, each of whom got a monthly salary, and over the next seven months, the group created Rs 12 lakh worth of garments, furnishings and Covida dolls working from home.
"The very look of Covida will bring joy to those who suffered without jobs. Things will turn around," Gomathi, one of the artisans, said.
"There will be revival of jobs. Large number of people are buying this," Bhagyalakshmi, another artisan, said.
According to a report by the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE), around 1.77 crore salaried jobs were lost in April alone.
The collective believes Covida is their response to the pandemic and the heartbreak it has caused.
"Time will heal and we have to remain positive. That's what we realised during the Covid lockdown. We want to share this with the world," Dr Lalitha, another member of the team, said.
"This is also a low-carbon footprint product," she added.