Crowdfunding is helping re-invent Indian traditions!

An entire community of weavers have had a new breath of life weaved into their craft thanks to crowdfunding!

In order to set patterns for Pochampally sarees (these are made in Telangana) it takes a weaver over 18000 hand motions to set 25 kms of silk thread to make just two sarees a day. Laxmi was from one such weaver family and her son, Mallesham Chinthakindi, watched his mother struggle for years. She was in constant pain due to the repetitive hand motions required while doing the ‘ASU’ (pattern setting) for weaving Pochampally sarees. Mallesham dropped out of school and decided to find a way to remove her drudgery, make her life easier and make the ASU process faster.

Mallesham began developing the Laxmi ASU machine, which on completion has transformed lives of women who weave these sarees. This has automated the whole process and does not require any physical labour at all. Where earlier a woman could only make 2 ‘ASU’ patterns a day, they now churn out 7-8 patterns. 800 machines have been sold already to the bigger handloom weavers in the Nalgonda, Yadadri & Jangaon districts of Telangana. The machine costs INR 25000. However, this is an amount that not all weaving families can afford.laxmi-asu-fb-postMallesham has won every possible award from PM Modi, President Pranab Mukherjee, Is ranked as the TOP 7 most influential rural innovators by Forbes magazine , is a TED talk speaker etc .However as the Times of India newspaper put it – “Only high praise, no financial help for Forbes list innovator”

Mallesham decided to try crowdfunding & run a campaign to  make these Laxmi ASU machines affordable to the smaller weavers. The weavers could afford only 7500 INR of the 25000 INR cost. Someone needed to bridge the 17500 INR cost of each machine & that is where crowdfunding helped.

The campaign started with a goal of 3.5L to fund 20 such machines for poor weaver families and ended up raising over 4L INR. These machines will radically impact the families economically and also have a massive social impact as the girl child & the women in the family are now free to pursue other interest including going to school for starters!

Read the whole story here!


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