Sittilingi (Dharmapuri) : Titan Company has lent its support to Porgai Artisan Association Centre at Sittilingi valley – a community of women belonging to Lambadi settlements of Sittilingi Valley in Tamil Nadu. And Bhaskar Bhat, Managing Director of Titan Company, was there to inaugurate the Centre.
Titan is carrying out this project in association with The Tribal Crafts Initiative, headed by Lalitha Regi, a medical professional, who moved to the village over two decades ago. The watch major’s support extends to three years of holistic partnering. The interventions will include design and product development, skill development, training of new artisans and marketing support.
“The effort is aimed at reviving this tradition of embroidery that would otherwise have been lost,” said Bhat.
History reveals that the Lambadis are a tribe, originally from the Gujarat- Rajasthan border; they are said to have migrated down South with the Mughal army several decades ago. And Sittilingi in Dharmapuri district is one such settlement. Dr Regi says she and her husband Regi George were initially drawn by the picturesque beauty of the valley. “Once here, we realized that these remote villages lacked medical care.”
About 65 women are registered with Porgai Society. These women, who were earlier working as farm laborers, could get no regular source of income. Regi motivated some of the senior members of the tribe to impart training to youngsters in Lambadi embroidery. She has also helped them participate in trade fairs and expos and showcase the tribal artifacts on such platforms. The society sold Rs. 32 lakh worth goods last year. The sale included export of ethnic hand embroidered home furnishing products to Switzerland as well.
Porgai artifacts have drawn students from fashion designing schools as well. At least half-a-dozen interns from places like Bangalore, Delhi and Mumbai are working with the tribal women, helping them retain the ethnic embroidery work while trying to improvise on the design aspect and make them trendy.
“Titan’s design ethos will help them; they can become sustainable in 3 years,” the Titan MD said.
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