Uravu is a non-profit organisation at Thrikkaipetta village, about 10 km from Kalpetta in Wayanad. It is a wing of the State Bamboo mission formed under the Department of Industries. Uravu makes use of the indigenous sciences and technology for the upliftment of the tribes in the area and it runs a successful bamboo crafts design and production centre along with a bamboo nursery.
Bamboo is found abundantly in Wayanad and Uravu encourages the traditional technology and craftsmanship of the tribes in creating a whole range of products using bamboo. They include both functional and decorative products. The institute also helps in marketing these products through their sales outlets at Thrikkaipetta and near the Pookot Lake.
In its efforts to uplift the locals using the locally available materials, it not only provides more job opportunities to the local populace, but also ensures the restoration of the ecosystem and revives the traditional craftsmanship, which otherwise would have died down.
The word Uravu means “spring” or “source” in Malayalam and it became a source of income and means of upliftment for the tribal people. Started in 1996, as a bamboo processing training and design centre, it has so far contributed much to the economic and cultural enhancement of the tribal community. Uravu strives for sustainable economic development by making use of the commonly available resource in the region – bamboo.
Uravu, in its efforts to uplift the local community, has resorted to bamboo as a major means because it provides a local solution to the global challenges. As mentioned earlier, bamboo is found in the area abundantly and the tribes and local people in the area are traditionally adept at creating bags, handicrafts, furniture and other materials using bamboo; hence the organisation has to just revamp and rejuvenate the tradition. Apart from these, there are many factors – economic as well as environmental – that made the organisation resort to bamboo. Bamboos have great environmental significance and it helps rejuvenate degraded lands. By encouraging a business based on bamboo, the organisation thus could convert many degraded lands to useful ones; growing bamboo can also prevent soil erosion. The products made of bamboo are eco-friendly and they don’t harm the environment compared to the non bio-degradable and synthetic materials. The bamboo-based economy can also help the rural community re-establish its control over natural resources.
The economic benefits of bamboo cultivation too cannot be neglected. The bamboo plantation needs only minimal capital investments and while growing bamboo, Uravu could resort to the inherent plant cultivation skills of local farmers. The products and businesses centred on bamboo are always sure to rejuvenate the rural economy.
Contributions of Uravu
Uravu tries to find out a system which will help uplift the downtrodden and the marginalised economically. While making the local population economically stable is Uravu’s prime concern, it has also paid great attention to the means for development. The organisation envisages an economic system based on natural resource base. It strives to upgrade the local resource processing skills and also ensures that the local community is equipped with appropriate technologies.
Many value added products have been brought forth by the artisans working with Uravu. They include bags, pens, furniture, CD covers, household utensils, handicraft items etc and they are effectively marketed. The downtrodden section of the local community is the main benefactors of Uravu’s initiatives and they include traditional artisans, tribes and women.
Uravu is a partner of State Bamboo Mission and assists in its training initiatives. As part of a project under the Rashtriya Sam Vikas Yojana (RSVJ) programme of Government of India, Uravu has started imparting craft training to rural people. The organisation also joined hands with Ambedkar Hast Shilp Vikas Yojana (AHVY) and NABARD and actively worked towards the establishment of mother and satellite units for development of bamboo craft and products in Wayanad.
Uravu helped about 200 families in Wayanad find a livelihood through its initiatives and activities related to bamboo. Coupled with tourism, the bamboo product making industry could bring in sustainable development in the Bamboo Village of Thrikkaipetta without creating disturbances in its ecosystem.
What You can see in Uravu
Visit Uravu and you will understand that it is a beehive of activities now. There is a bamboo nursery, where you can see people involved in designing and getting trained in producing bamboo furniture, bags or crafts.