We are a group of 300 families from a community in the panchayat town of Manimuthar (Tamil Nadu, India). Our women don’t want to roll beedis anymore. It isn’t helping us make progress. It isn’t good for anyone, we learned.
We searched for an alternative livelihood and with the help of the team from Carbon Natives we learned about charcoal. And thus identified an opportunity to create a livelihood from something that was part of our daily lives: the charcoal residue from firewood used in our cookstoves. Thus began our journey towards creating an alternate economic model - one that we are happy to note can be entirely self sustaining.
Prof Mohan Ram - a native son of the Manimuthar soil who returned to it after 50 years of teaching in Chennai (to find it in a state of listless development culture) became our prime-mover and spokesperson.
He showed us that it is important for us to invest in economic opportunities that will give a better tomorrow to our children. He also helped us see that we can turn “creators and producers” and be proud owners of what we make.
Ably assisted by Mr. Raghuram, a young,resourceful and positive local, we began to learn about charcoal and create formulations with it, which we tested and perfected to a point where we are able to say with pride and honesty – that they do what they are supposed to do – detox.
In this entire journey, which has just begun, we are happy to say that we are “true seekers” who decided to seek out appropriate economic opportunities that we can co-create with local capital and native resourcefulness rather than seek out subsidy, donations and grant.
The concept of cookstove residue based micro-enterprises now taking shape in our community. The first 6 products are now ready after undergoing trials for about 15 months. Watch a 40 sec video of the Manimuthar cluster in action..
‘The CHARGLO Detox Hamper’ - is now ready with utilitarian packaging and functional labels. What it lacks as fancy certificates, it makes up with the bona fide wholesomeness of high-grade activated charcoal, wild organic ingredients and honesty in what they contain.