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Atelier Shanti

ATELIER SHANTI is affiliated to Volontariat and is situated at

20, Lazar Koil Street (Pondicherry 605 001 Ė INDIA).


 In 1966, a young person called Mannangaty cured of leprosy, amputated in one leg, was placed by Volontariat in a hospital for rehabilitation, to get an artificial limb.

 When he got back to Pondicherry, his only option was to go to the Dubrayapet leprosy centre run by the government where 150 men and women - all like him, completely cured but handicapped and totally rejected by their families and the society in general - lived. The main activity of most of these people was to beg for money to buy alcohol.

 Mannangaty did not wish to beg and preferred to find an occupation. Volontariat considered a weaver's job for him.

 That is how, in a bamboo cabin, a loom was set up next to the DUBRAYAPET leprosy centre on the sea coast. Soon other people team a similar situation were added. This was the beginning of Atelier Shanti.

 The weaving looms were locally fabricated. The first products manufactured were "lungis", (menís dhotis) and tea towels. They were sold locally at first. Later products which could be sold in Europe were designed.

Those who had no hope found work and felt respected again.


 Today, the workshop has 3 sections :


Weaving section :

18 handicapped weavers work in this section.

Pictures of the processes

involved can be seen here.

Sewing section :

17 women are employed in this section.

Embroidery section :

25 women are employed in this section.


 Around 60 people are employed in this workshop. It offers them many advantages which are quite unusual in India: free medicine, a low rent for their houses and electricity.

 The children of the workers receive the benefits of the sponsorship program like school fee, uniforms, text books, note books and educational materials, noon meals and summer camps. They are also given the opportunity to attend the evening classes run by Volontariat.

 The elderly who are living in and around Atelier Shanti received the noon day meal from Volontariat.

Most of the production is exported to Europe.

The chapter "Sale of handicrafts" lists and illustrates the items for sale.

If you want more information or if you want to suggest any new models,

contact us through the"Address book".