Craft Initiative

The Lambadi, originally a nomadic tribe from the north-western India, had migrated down south to escape persecution and with the Mughal army later between 3 to 5 centuries ago and settled in Maharashtra, Karnataka, Andhra and Tamil Nadu. These communities who were once nomadic has since settled in remote locations for the past few generations.

It was in 2006, when the craft had long ceased to be practiced, that Tribal Health Initiative, working with the Lambadi women in community health, farming etc., commenced a dialogue with them about their traditional crafts. As a result, from two senior women who had learnt the craft in their childhood but never quite practiced it, another 12 women learned it and revived the craft. They called their venture Porgai (Porgai in Lambadi dialect means pride). It was a difficult task at first to make them believe that they could do fine quality work and that this work would fetch them some extra income . “Who will want to buy our clothes in this modern time?” many asked. But with persistence, training and skill development, they slowly learned to embroider deftly on cloth with their traditional designs and colour. The Porgai producer group was formed in 2006 which was registered as a society called Porgai Artisan’s Association in 2011

There are 60 artisans now with 10 more as tailors and 3 support Staff. They make contemporary products highly appreciated in urban markets ranging from dresses to furnishings and art works. Porgai is now a recognized name in many cities like Chennai and Bangalore

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