On March 15th, I took the train back to Kotagiri, after last setting foot in that beautiful place during the 450 km walk from Pondicherry. After passing through some charming town-stations with a characteristic old-world charm such as Mettupalayum and taking a jeep up the hills to the very top, a superb day of free flowing discussion, brain storming and plan of action for making Kotagiri Fairtade town before August followed.
The Niligri Adivasi Welfare Association (NAWA), a leading charity in Kotagiri has been working closely with me towards making the Fairtrade town a reality. I feel pleased with the effort they have shown during the Fair trade fortnight (which happened in November 2016) and the commitment they have shown to make the Fairtrade Town concept a reality.
This is one of the many interesting actions facilitated by NAWA, in Kotagiri during the dynamic Fairtade week in November, a school competition promoting students to visualise the fair trade concept through art.
The local Tamil media took immense interest and wider public attention was also drawn. With Vijayakumar Koothapuli, the project manager of NAWA and Rajkumar Sampth being intimately involved throughout the whole process.
On one of the mornings, I was interviewed by local Kotagiri Radio by young and enthusiastic team members like Jayanathi, Aravind and Thanush.
I shared my thoughts on the 450km walk, climate change, Fairtade towns, communty radio and had lovely tea and few laughs.
On March 19th, I returned to Chennai with a lot of good energy and pumped with copious amounts of extra energy generated by faithful supporters and hard working activists in Kotagiri and the world around. There is a real chance Kotagiri will be fully and officially branded the first Fairtrade Town in India.
Please do donate towards the cause and spread the message to your friends and colleagues.