Uravu Indigenous Science and Technology Study Centre commonly known as Uravu located in Thrikaipetta village of Wayanad District, Kerala is a not for profit, non-governmental organisation that strives for rural empowerment through sustainable solutions. Established in 1996, URAVU works with people, governments and businesses to facilitate initiatives with the prime motive of sustainable development and implements focused end-to-end programs in the bamboo sector.
Situated amidst the green hills and paddy fields of Thrikaipetta, Uravu started as a collective of individuals who were determined to make a difference to the lives of the rural poor by protecting traditional knowledge systems and technologies which are environment friendly and promoting it as an alternative source of livelihood . Slowly but we realised the potential of bamboo in meeting the core objectives of reviving traditional knowledge, protecting environment and generating an alternative source of livelihood. Ever since our focus completely shifted on to bamboo and today Uravu has matured as a Knowledge centre of Bamboo- a one stop point for Bamboo solutions- that spearheads the development of bamboo sector in the state and beyond.
Promotion of bamboo handicrafts and utility products as a sustainable alternative and means of employment for rural women and promotion and cultivation of bamboo for its environmental and economic benefits are the core activities of the organisation. Uravu’s bamboo nursery is the largest in South India in terms of species diversity and hosts around 50 different species. Uravu has trained and established 16 SHGs that depend on bamboo handicrafts as their primary source of livelihood. Around 200 artisans- 90% women- work in these SHGs. These SHGs are organised in the form of a cluster. The common facility centre is the nerve centre of all the activities and provide forward and backward linkages to the SHGs. The CFC also hosts our in house designers and trainers, art enthusiastic, student and designers across the globe who constantly engage in efforts and research to redefine bamboo.Several agencies like NABARD, KVIC, Bamboo Mission, AICCA etc have partnered with us in disseminating the knowledge we possess by organising training programs and workshops.Uravu network also comprises of Uravu eco links and Bamboo Grove. Ecolinks leads bamboo based construction and bamboo trading and Bamboo grove heads our bamboo based community eco tourism activities.
Uravu’s major contribution lies in main streaming bamboo based economic activities in Kerala. It has helped tremendously to improve the social status of bamboo artisans by removing caste based perceptions in the occupation. Their per day income levels have rose from Rs. 20-30 in 1990s to Rs. 250 – Rs. 1500 now. From 8 families in 1996, around 100 families depend on bamboo based actives as their primary income source in Thrikaipetta village alone today, transforming the whole village economy. This small rural remote village is known today for its expertise in bamboo and is identified and acclaimed across the globe as a bamboo village. The sate government has also acknowledged this growth by declaring Thrikapetta as the first and the only heritage village in Bamboo in Kerala.