"LA VALLÉE DES DIEUX, fair trade : an Indian experience"
- Avani Kumar : Founder of the Indian association Alternate Foundation
- Emma Baus : director
- Students of Sainte Marie secondary school in Saint Sernin
Project region : Toulouse, France
Date : Tuesday 17th of November 2009
For the International Solidarity Week, we organised a debate around Emma Baus’documentary, “La vallee des dieux” (26 mins)
For the past twenty years, Avani Kumar has been collaborating with small groups of artisans around the country. One of them lives in the north-west of India, on the foothills of the Himalaya, in the Valley of Gods, which owes its name to the numerous temples lining the valley. It is there, in the village of Dobbi that we will discover how traditional artisanal work improves the local inhabitant’s lives.
These artisans make woollen scarves (shawls), which are then sold through the fair trade networks. We will learn much of their traditional way of life by watching them live, prey, work and sing. As they have always lived by the mountains, they are without doubt its ideal protectors in the spirit of long term development.
All these traditions are directly linked to mother-nature and would disappear if the inhabitants left for the already overcrowded slums of New-Delhi or Bombay.
The encounter :
Following the director’s request to arrange a meeting between Avani Kumar and the general public to discuss her documentary, Solidarite contacted Sainte Marie de Saint Sernin secondary school. This location was chosen because the school houses a fair trade shop, which it uses for educational purposes.
The encounter was interactive, as the students were being filmed as part of Emma Baus’ documentary. The idea was to captivate their reactions. After the film, Avani Kumar presented his work in India with the Alternate Foundation; a network of local producers who aim to make wholesome, good quality products rather than money.
The money made from selling scarves at the school will go directly to the producers: The scarf and sock producers of the Valley of Gods.