Kumaun Grameen Udyog (KGU) www.kilmora.in opportunities for the local people living around the Nainital District of Uttrakhand in the Himalayan region of Northern India. KGU was set up by the Central Himalayan Rural Action Group (CHIRAG), a non profit grass roots development organization that has worked extensively in the central Himalayas. KGU employs twenty weavers, sixty artisans, and supports three hundred and fifty small farmers from whom they source agricultural products. Recently, KGU has begun procuring apricot and peach kernels from local farmers to add pure, natural apricot skin-care products to their product range, which also consists of hand woven and hand knitted textiles. Weaving is undertaken at a center in the village of Buribana, whilst knitting is done by women in their homes. Fair wages provide artisans with substantial round-the-year income, for many the sale of products provides an important supplementary income. KGU also contributes to concrete and tangible community development projects. At present, these include contributions towards two major initiatives of CHIRAG: an eight-bed hospital in Sargakhet village, and a rural school that has been functioning for two years in Simayal village in Nainital District.
Kilmora is the brand name under which all KGU products are marketed. Kilmora constantly undertakes creative experimentation to develop new collections of hand woven and hand knitted products. While knitting is traditional to mountain regions, weaving was introduced to local people through training. The Kilmora range includes tailored garments; vests, sweaters, and jackets as well as accessories such as scarves, stoles, caps, mufflers, neck warmers, gloves, and socks. Colourful knitted toys, hot water bottle covers and tea cossies are popular products. Yardage and customization of designs is also available. KGU have also tailored the product range to meet the needs of the local economy and ensure they are relevant for the communities in the region; these range from products that reduce the expenditure of local families or that serve a development purpose: such as energy-efficient lighting devices or affordable books for children. Through income generation, KGU is working towards improving the lives of people in the Central Himalaya.
by sharmila wood