The Mat weaving Rehabilitation Project was started in 1957 by Dr. Fritchi the then Superintendent of SLR&TC & Mrs. Mano Fritchi to find employment opportunities for leprosy patients who had lost their jobs due to their disabilities and the stigma of the disease. From an initial hospital grant these patients made tapes for beds, stockinet bandages and table mats with the broom grass that grew in abundance in the campus.
The Rehab unit is a part of the SIH-R&LC. The unit functions on the grounds of compassion, to help the former leprosy patients to earn and to support their nuclear family, until they are able to earn and support themselves independent of the unit.
The block printing unit was started in the year 1996. One of our weavers’ son was sent to Hubli for training. He in turn trained socially and economically deprived women from rural areas. This section turns out block printed bed sheets, sarees, table cloths and cushion covers which are in great demand.
The products from this centre have found their way to many leading arts and craft centres of this country. Regular customers in India are MESH New Delhi, Cane and Bamboo & VTI Chennai. The unit also conducts sales in schools and hospitals and sets up sales counters at conferences and workshops organized by CMC and the Charity Bazar sale at Bangalore every year.
The unit runs on a non-profit basis. Training and raw materials are provided to workers. They are also helped to market the products. They are paid on a piece rate basis.