Write a Review of
Aranya Naturals
Aranya Naturals is one of four projects at Srishti Welfare Centre, a community development project located in Munnar, a tea-growing region in the southern Indian state of Kerala. Srishti is supported by Tata Global Beverages Limited, the largest integrated tea company in the world.

Srishti Welfare Centre
The Srishti Centre runs various programmes for the education, training and rehabilitation of differently-abled children of Munnar’s tea plantation workers. Srishti has proved a crucial and safe working environment for these youngsters. Many Aranya workers begin their journey towards self-sufficiency with learning at Srishti’s DARE School, followed by training before they find their calling at Srishti’s Natural Dye unit, Aranya Naturals.

What we do
In 1994, the idea of starting a Naturals Dyeing unit at Srishti was born. The dual aims were to revitalise a fading art by employing youngsters emerging from DARE School to create non-toxic,
eco-friendly and azo-free dyes and fabrics. Thus was born Aranya Naturals. The art of making natural dyes is a craft practice which reflects a harmonious, sustainable relationship with the local ecosystems and plant reserves. This art is also a unique repository of community knowledge and heritage which Aranya seeks to preserve. The youngsters receive further specialised training at Aranya from experts in various natural dyeing techniques. Their products have found buyers from all over India and the world.

Our Vision and Goal
Aranya is not a run-of-the-mill business. We exist for a higher purpose that goes beyond producing goods for sale — that of ensuring sustainable livelihoods for differently-abled workers. These youngsters, who have grown up in

the cool climate of Munnar, find it difficult to survive in the heat of the plains, making migration for work all but impossible. They are provided with housing and free transport facility between their homes and the units. Lunch and crèche facilities are also provided. Hence, our goal is to cover our considerable overheads through sales of our natural dyed fabrics, making Aranya self- sustaining to ensure continued livelihoods of our workers.

Very few centres in India follow proper processes for making natural dyes, using chemicals that ultimately harm the environment. Conscious use of naturally dyed products ensures the survival of not only the art of natural dyes, but also of community livelihoods. Our vision is to be a model institution — a model for processes, for making quality natural dyed fabric, and for rehabilitation of disabled youngsters.

Partner Projects
Apart from Aranya, the Srishti Welfare Centre also houses workshops for projects employing differently-abled youngsters, who make a variety of products from fruit preserves to handmade paper and confectionery. All of these are available at the Welfare Centre’s onsite Sales Outlet, a must-visit for environmentally friendly souvenirs from Munnar.

DARE, or Developmental Activities in Rehabilitative Education, is involved in training, educating and rehabilitating disabled children of plantation workers in Munnar. Youngsters who learn at the DARE School successfully join mainstream schools. Others have been rehabilitated with jobs at Srishti itself, including at Aranya Naturals. DARE markets greeting cards and calendars based on the designs of its talented students. DARE’s Strawberry Preserve Unit also markets high quality preserves and squashes under the High Range brand, made with hand-picked local ingredients, free of artificial preservatives or colouring agents.

Athulya has two units — a vocational training centre that imparts training in stationery- making and a handmade paper-making unit which trains physically challenged

youngsters in the art of making recycled paper.

Srishti: The Deli
Srishti’s Bakery and Confectionery Unit is mostly managed and run by speech impaired and handicapped persons, who have received training at the Taj President, Mumbai under Chef Ananda Solomon. The Deli offers a range of confectionery items including breads, cakes, cookies, samosas, rolls, biryanis and hot beverages.