Kerala - The Land of Chekutty is a four minute film about the people of Kerala, who over came what many though was a once in hundred years flood and landslide in Aug 2018.
They faced the crisis through solidarity and resilience. This film specifically looks into the efforts taken by people in the weaving village of Chendamangalam. The intervention based on crowd sourcing, collaboration and co-creation resulted in a doll made out of soiled clothes from the flood. These were from stocks and yarns belonging to various handloom cooperatives. The doll known as Chekutty became a face of resilient and resurgent Kerala, not only binding Kerala emotionally, but also helping the weavers come back to their feet in less than 60 days.
A beacon of resilience:
“A road trip to learn about resilience” – The New Indian Express
“A mascot of the emerging Keralam, being rebuilt through our solidarity, resilience and beauty of hearts despite some of the stains and scars that will remain in our lives. Chekkutty has scars. Chekkutty has stains. But Chekutty represents each one of us who survived the floods." said the volunteers.
Journey of the little doll
Born out of the August 2018 floods in Kerala, Chekutty started as a community initiative to ensure the weaving families of Chendamangalam were not broken by the crisis. It began with the local volunteers repurposing the material from their ruined saris into the now famous Chekutty dolls. They were soon joined and supported by volunteers from around the world. In just a few short months, the initiative had not only achieved its original aims, but become a story of hope shared across the world. Chekutties have now been made by over 50,000 volunteers and appeared in more than 140 countries. Over 2,000 delegates at the World Reconstruction Conference, co-organized by the UNDRR and the World Bank, went home with them as keepsakes. Other events have used them as lanyards and souvenirs - from the Kerala Startup Mission and the Outlook Traveller Awards in India, ITB Berlin in Germany, to the Natural Hazards Centre conference in USA, the Humanitarian Leadership Conference in Australia and the Resilient Cities Summit in Spain.
Giving agency to communities
“The Chekutty dolls are so powerful because they achieve three things. Firstly, the dolls generate income and protect the livelihoods of the people affected by the floods. Secondly, the dolls empower and give agency to the affected community. Thirdly, they tell a compelling story, mobilising people across the globe in solidarity and fight against climate change. Having worked in the humanitarian sector my entire professional life, I see the Chekutty as a powerful example of how we as humanitarians must evolve and change the way we work to not only cover needs, but also give agency to crisis-affected people and mobilise the world to respond more frequent and violent disasters.” Lars Peters Nissen, ACAPS,
Co-creating Chekutty in partnership with local communities and global volunteers brought together different sectors like tourism, disaster management, development sector and local governments on a common platform. One of the several triggers that lead us to for Resilient Destinations Foundation