Chiguru is a co-operative enterprise set up by JMS to develop supplementary sources of income for the rural poor in Raichur district. Chiguru supports initiatives that:
– have high employment generating potential and are labour-intensive
– use natural, locally available resources
– promote community health and wellbeing
– promote co-operatives that are operated and sustained completely by rural women
– increase economic self-reliance by finding suitable alternatives to products that cause high indebtedness among rural communities
Terracotta jewellery and Artefacts
Made from refined clay, each piece of intricately designed hand-made jewellery is a testament to the capacity of rural women to overcome the challenges they face. The Chiguru Terracotta Unit was launched in 2001. The unit now has many different products and over 1000 designs to its credit. Products include earrings, necklaces, key chains, bells, bracelets, anklets, wall hangings, door curtains and more.
Organic Farming Inputs/Manure
To promote economic self-reliance among its members, the Chiguru co-operative launched an experiment to create farming inputs with locally available natural resources. The experiment resulted in a highly successful product – Neem fertilizer. The Neem fertilizer group received the Citigroup micro-entrepreneurship award in 2006.
Herbal Healthcare Products
Raichur district is known for hundreds of naturally occurring herbs and rich indigenous health practices that have been lost over time. The Chiguru herbal health care initiative was started with the explicit aim of ‘People’s Health in People’s Hands’. Select members of JMS are trained in the identification of healing plants, diagnosis of common ailments and preparation and administration of herbal medicines. These ‘Sangathan doctors’ effectively meet the primary health care needs of their families and communities through low cost natural remedies. Chiguru’s most popular products and their uses are:
i. Neem Leaf Oil: Made from the leaves of the healing Neem tree (Azadiracta indica), this oil is used for a wide range of skin ailments that include cuts, wounds, allergies, rashes, eczema etc.
ii. Vatanivaraka Pain Oil: Very effective for arthritic and rheumatic pains, joint pains, sprains, muscle pulls and swelling, this oil is made from Nirgundi (Vitex negundo) and Akke (Calatropis gigantia)
iii. Thalispatradi Choornam: Used for all types of respiratory problems such as cough, bronchitis and asthma, this choornam or mixture is made with herbs and spices that form the basis of many well-known ayurvedic cures. Its ingredients include black pepper, cardamom, dry ginger, cinnamon, pipli and Thalispatra.
Analgesic Herbal Balm: Made with pure beeswax, mint extracts, Nirgundi, coconut oil and eucalyptus oil, this balm provides effective relief from pain caused by headaches, sinusitis etc.