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Chekutty dolls set to give a new lease of life to paraplegic patients in Kerala

December 21, 2018

It has been over four months since floods ravaged Kerala. Hundreds of people were killed and thousands lost their homes in the natural disaster at 'Gods own country'. But that could not break the spirits of Malayalis.

The Chekutty Doll is a symbol of the unbroken spirit, courage and determination of the people of Kerala. A rag doll, Chekutty was made from handloom cloth in the aftermath of the floods. Funds from the sale of Chekutty have been sent to weavers in north Ernakulam, popularly known as Chendamangalam weavers. Now the dolls will lend a helping hand to inmates of the Institute of Palliative Medicine (IPM) at Kozhikode in Kerala.

This is done as part of the Footprints programme of IPM. Paraplegic patients have already started making Chekutty which will be sold from next year onwards. Training sessions for volunteers are already on. Paraplegic patients will be trained by these volunteers on how to make Chekutty. After its huge success, and thousands of pending orders, Chekutty is all set to give a new lease of life to paraplegic patients.

Chekutty is the brainchild of Gopinathan Parayil and Lakshmi Menon. The duo says that after the damaged clothes are over, they will start making Chekutty from handloom cloth that remains unsold for years.

Chekutty still has a massive demand. So we thought why not lend a helping hand for those people who are in need. That is how we reached out to IPM where there are many paraplegic patients. Training sessions are already on and over 400 patients are expected to benefit from Chekutty- Gopinathan Parayil

The sale from Chekutty dolls will go completely towards welfare of paraplegic patients.

Dr Anwar Hussain, Director, Institute of Palliative Medicine, is not leaving any stone unturned to make sure that paraplegic patients benefit from this novel initiative.

"Chekutty is a renowned name already. I feel it is more of an emotion of every Malayali since we all have been affected by the floods in some way or the other. That is how I thought of the idea to make it sustainable. After the trial run we have already been getting some great responses. We will increase manufacturing Chekutty. But for now, we are looking at how the sales are going to be. Availability of raw materials are also a crucial factor", says Dr Hussain.

Sreejith Jeevan owns Rouka, a boutique in Kochi. Jeevan has been creating some exquisite pieces from the damaged fabric of Chendamangalam weavers. He says that Chekutty lending a helping hand to paraplegic weavers is truly remarkable.

"Chendamangalam saw one of the worst times during the floods. Our initial response was to save the stock that was in the verge of getting damaged. Chekutty was a beautiful initiative that happened side by side to ensure that the damaged fabrics were put to good use. On the other side, looms were getting supporters and Chekutty was able to connect to a larger audience. This was an amazing movement to bring weavers back to track. Joining hands with paraplegic patients is going to give Chekutty a new life. This is also a proof to how it can connect with so many people. The weavers and patients are going to benefit from this", says Jeevan.

Chekutty dolls are available at the website www.chekutty.in. A set of 20 dolls cost Rs 500. Since sale of Christmas cakes have begun, the fabric will also be used to wrap Christmas cakes by a few bakers.

ALSO READ: Miracle on Wheels is transforming lives of thousands of wheelchair users in India



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