Dr. Lalitha, co-founder of the Tribal Health Initiative in Sittilingi, Dharmapuri district, Tamil Nadu visited us in Kotagiri on 26/27th March 2010. Dr. Lalitha’s visit enabled to learn about the status of the Tribal Craft Initiative in Sittilingi and in turn share our experience in marketing produce by local communities and organisations supporting them. An excerpt from the Porgai website –

“The Tribal Craft Initiative enables local people to value their tradition and allows them to bring money into their local economy.

The local Lambadi tribals migrated from the north of India several hundred years ago. They have their own distinctive dialect, costume and traditions. Their tradition of embroidery was very nearly lost. Only a few of the older women remembered how to make the distinctive designs. This tradition has now been revived by the Tribal Craft Initiative, with the older women teaching the younger women. They have decided to call their work “Porgai” which in the Lambadi dialect means “pride”, reflecting the pride they feel in their work and in rediscovering the tradition to which they belong.”

Keystone and Tribal Health Initiative will be working together to build a presence for Porgai and Svad products in the Greenshops. To begin with, an exhibition of Porgai products is being planned during the month of April 2010 at the Greenshop in Ooty.

The organic farmers of Sittilingi are well known for their organic cotton and organic turmeric. The Greenshops would soon be selling organic haldi powder from the Sittilingi valley.