Godavari is a women’s producer group based in Narsapur, on the West Godavari Delta. Their specialism is lace making, and more recently, tailoring. They make lovely crochet flower brooches, necklaces, and nightdresses. On Barb’s recent visit to India in February 2010, lovethatstuff and Godavari developed several more designs together which will soon be on sale in the Love That Stuff Brighton Marina shop. Recently Godavari have sourced handloomed cotton from small producers using mainly vegetable dyes and traditional kalamkari block printing for clothing and homeware. The quality of their products is superb.
The social premium from the sale of their products goes towards a number of projects, including free eye tests and glasses to artisans, money to widows and those too old to work, and rice and presents to AIDS orphans. They also make free school uniforms. All also receive blankets and saris, and extra in the event of a natural disaster such as the major floods in 2008. AIDS is now a huge problem in India and Godavari support the orphans of former artisans, as well as orphans in the tribal areas of Andhra Pradesh.
A Scottish missionary taught the first group of women the art of lace making. Mrs Hemalatha, the current president’s mother, founded Godavari as she was so frustrated with the women being exploited by middle men. Through her hard work she persuaded women in 30 villages to form a society, even going on hunger strike to gain recognition for independent status. This was achieved on May 19th 1979 and the first order was from Trade Aid in New Zealand in 1983. Now the artisans number around 1,000, working in the West Godavari region of Andhra Pradesh.