Women from Paalaguttapalle (Dalitwada) stitch cloth bags of high quality, make delicious pickles, and sustain their families through droughts.
Meet The Team
Her family consists of her husband Amarnath, children Keerthana and Shashank, inlaws Bharathamma and Siddiah. Bharathi grazes cows. Amarnath gets fodder, and collects the milk from the village homes for the collection centre. But in these times of drought, everything runs low.
Anitha sustains the home with her stitching. Anitha was one of the founders of PaalaGuttaPalle Bags. Her talent is unlimited.
Every image that a customer seeks, she recreates to a perfection. The compartment bags that created and continues to create waves is her doing. A customer sent an image, and she created a bag that had as circled the globe. Many times.
She and her husband Seenu have two children, Shravanthi and Dinesh. Shravanthi is in class 11 and Dinesh is in class 7. Both are very hardworking children, Shravanthi wants to become an agricultural engineer!
Initially, Roopa was only making pickles.. very tasty ones!! She was not a member of the bags team. But then one day, she came and informed us that she had saved the money she earned through making pickles and has now bought a sewing machine. She asked us if she could also join the stitching team.
She added that she had been watching her sister-in-law Anitha stitch bags and is now confident of stitching bags herself!
From that day she has been a part of the Paalaguttapalle bags team.
Her attention to quality and detail is remarkable. She is one of the pillars of this village enterprise.
She and her husband Guruvaiyya have two children, Dhananjaya and Chandu who are studying in hostel. Dhananjaya has finished his degree. Chendu is in class 12. Studying in the government hostel. Wishing to do study well, get a good job, sustain her parents.Her mother in law Lakshmamma. Wise and wonderful. Full of stories of olden days.
Buji asked one day, five years ago. "If I can also stitch I will be able to support my children's expenses. There is no work these days. I have an old machine." That same day she joined.
And is a steady hard working member of the team. Cheerful and positive.
Nirmala is a ray of light and laughter. Through sunny days and cloudy days, she keeps herself and the group in good cheer.
Her husband is handicapped, and she is the sole breadwinner of the family. When she asked to join the group 2 years ago, the group in characteristic generosity, took her in. She has proved to be immensely talented in tailoring.
She has two small boys Hanshit and Chanakya who are her pride and joy. One day early morning, she brought Chanakya to be 'photographed'. All powdered and dressed up. When she was told that we would do it later, her face fell, "The glamour will go." Swipe to see the 1.5 year old glamorous Chanakya!
She has put her boys in a small local English medium school, with the confidence of her bag earnings. The local village school is just a single teacher for classes 1-5, and the parents wish to put their children in better schools. "Even if we eat a less it's ok, but we want to educate our children well", says Nirmala. As landless laborers they only see education as a way to a better future for their children.
Ramila is Chandana and Anils mother. Her husband Ravi goes for daily wage labour. Ravi gets less and less work in these drought times.
One day she asked the group if she could join them. They welcomed her, and she's proved to one one of the best tailors
And for her, this work has helped keep the hone running. And in Chandana's schooling expenses.
Anil was born deaf, and could not cope in the regular government schools. The family had no way to consider special schools for the deaf. He dropped out of school and started going for labour early. But Chandana, now in her 11th is an eager and bright student. And the parents are trying to keep her studies going without hindrance
She and her husband Ramu have three sons - Puneet, Vikram and Pushwanth. They had a third child as they wanted a girl very badly ! But Pushwanth was born !
That long ago day, almost 4 years ago, Rani stopped me near the school, "I would also like to stitch, can I have some work ? Ever since Ramu fell from a coconut tree he has not been able to go much for labour." That moment I knew that we had to do whatever we could to answer her.
I am happy that many things fell in place. Rani has been working since then, and supporting her family.
When a customer messaged saying how much he liked the bags, Rani said with heartfelt happiness, "Thats all we want, the customer being happy. Money is secondary."
Jyothi was a small child when we moved to the village. A happy laughing child. Through long summer months she spent the days under three Seema Chinta tree, calling out to the parrot to drop her thr fruits. We used to watch the parrot eat a few and throw a few down to her. Years passed.
Shes married and she and Muralin worked hard to support themselves Murali had an accident that needed multiple surgeries. And their small savings dwindled away. The surgeries had to be postponed as they had no way to pay. Things became very very hard.
Jyothi approached the group to ask if they could take her also in. They welcomed her, seeing her need.
And the group in now stronger.
With Jyothi and her skills. And with goodness, solidarity and collective empathy once again established.
Mamatha has recently joined the group. She and her husband Vinayaka, have two children, Vishal and Shravya.
We have known Vinayaka since he was in class 3. When he was very young, his father fell down from a moving tractor and got paralyzed and passed away soon. His mother Anasuya, singly brought him up by going for agricultural labour.
After finishing his schooling, he went to Tirupati in search of a job. He trained to be a cab driver. After getting married he settled down with his wife and kids in Tirupati.
But due to this pandemic, the business in Tirupati has come down drastically. He lost his job as the tourism in Tirupati has completely stopped. So they came back to the village. Vinayaka started going for agricultural labour, whenever he could. A few weeks back he asked us if his wife could join the #paalaguttapallebags team.
So she joined. She first learnt the techniques from the other women of the group. Now she is a full fledged member of the happy group
She and her husband, Buji babu have three lovely daughters Shyamala, Sandhya and Sruthi, all happily married! All three girls look exactly like their mother! and the two elder daughters have children, and even they look just like Lakshmikantha.
Buji babu's health has been difficult. Lakshmikantha has also had many surgeries. They had a small bit of land that they had to sell away towards debts. Now they have no assets.
Buji babu grazes cows and goes for labour. Lakshmikantha is happy to stitch as after her surgeries she cannot do very hard work. The other women in the group say that she is the most skilled amongst them.
Lakshmikantha is an only child, so her husband moved to this village after marriage. Lakshmikantha looked after her old father and also did the funeral rites as she was the only child. They are a happy family, even through life is difficult.