Mrs. S. Kanakadurga Weaver
Bethany Products-Bethany Leprosy Colony, A.P.
Kanakadurga making swatches at a MESH Design Workshop
Kankadurga comes from a family of weavers. Her father who was affected by leprosy as a young man left his weaving village and moved to Bethany Leprosy Colony to avoid the stigma associated with the disease. He was employed as the master weaver in the colony rehabilitation unit for many years. Later his wife and two youngest children joined him. So Kanakadugra (seen in this picture at a MESH training) grew up in Bethany and is now a supervisor in the rehab unit in Bethany.
The rehab unit was established chiefly to provide work for the women in the leprosy colony whilst their men went begging for a living because there was no other work for them. The women weavers work on traditional novaar looms usually used to make bed webbing. The narrow woven tapes are stitched together into strong and beautiful fashion bags.
Over many years MESH has provided training to Bethany Products in business skills, design input, managing a website and now quality control issues. They have learned how to use The Fair Wage Guide and are one of very few rehabilitation workshops that include gratuity and provident fund costs in the selling price of their products.