Bhoomi at Ahimsa Santhe
Bhoomi Team had the opportunity to participate in the five-day ‘Ahimsa Santhai’ held at Madurai from September 22nd to 26th. Aimed at perpetuating Mahatma Gandhi's principles, this nonviolent economy expo highlighted the increasing need to turn to organic and sustainable living. The five-day expo, which housed more than 120 stalls, was inaugurated by eminent social activists, Government officials, VIPs like the former Prime Minister of Bhutan drew huge crowds.
The Santhe had local artisans, women SHGs and environmentalists from Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, West Bengal, Delhi, etc., put up stalls. There were products ranging from colourful bamboo baskets to naturally dyed cotton T-shirts, from ‘karupatti kadalai mittai’ to organic honey from Jawadhu Hills.
Bhoomi had set up a stall where we had displayed Bhoomi magazines, posters and brochures about courses at Bhoomi. The women’s Self Help Group (SHG) from Bhoomi Vivasayee Maiyyam, Tiruvannamalai had brought several varieties of snacks, idli chutney powders, organic turmeric powder, handmade soaps etc for sale. They also had a live counter for making hot herbal soup which was a great hit. Everyone who tasted Moringa and Vallarai soup invariably bought a packet to take back home. They also distributed cuttings of gliricidia and some herbal saplings to the farmers who visited our stall.
Tamil Selvi, a SHG member shares “It is my first time participating in an exhibition of this scale. I saw so many things made out of banana-stem, aloe vera and other plants which I had no idea about. It was a very lively 5 days with hundreds of people coming to our stall, wanting to know what we do, where we are from and about our SHG.”
Lakshmi, a SHG member shares “All our snacks got over. City people don’t seem to know such varieties of rice and millets can be used to prepare snacks. Adhirasam and thattai got sold off so quickly. The response from people made us very happy.”
Partha, facilitator, Bhoomi Vivasayee Maiyam shares “Most of the crowd were students with a background in social science. A good number of adults, teachers and senior Government officials were keen to know about Bhoomi and alternative spaces. Overall, it was a very good exposure for the members of the SHG as they got to witness firsthand alternative markets and the scope it offers.”