The handlooms were one of the first industrial ventures started at Anandwan. Baba Amte always dreamt of Anandwan being self-sufficient and the handlooms allowed us to begin production of gauze and bandages for the hospital and clothes for our residents. Currently, 26 differently abled (mostly blind) and Rehabilitated leprosy afflicted including 7 women are working on making ‘Shabnam’ bags, personal mats, bedsheets, rugs (Galichas), blankets, towel, napkins, ‘panchas’, ‘lungis’, shirting etc. The first class quality and goodwill ensures immense demand, and various well-wishers of Anandwan use these materials for special occasions and in their daily lives.
To improve scope of the cottage industries at Anandwan, it was imperative to increase productivity of the existing units. With this thought in mind, Baba decided to upgrade to a powerloom to increase cloth production. This helped in meeting the need of the organization besides facilitating generation of revenue by sale of the surplus produce. The extraordinary success of this industry in fact helped bridge the significant gap between the outside world and Anandwan.
The Satranji Carpets department was established in 1975 with the idea of expanding the existing industries while taking into consideration what the rehabilitated leprosy afflicted can do. 68 threads are criss crossed in a 1 foot width on a 50 foot vertical ‘tana’ threads and horizontal ‘bana’ threads to create beautiful colourful Satranji Carpets. The machines as well as the wooden instruments used in the production process are all made in-house. According to the demand, size, colours and design are customised which makes them very popular in the market.
Starting new ventures and replicating them if successful is Anandwan’s motto. The bag and cushion section is a golden example of the same. Baba Amte had once received a leather bag as a gift from the Birlas. It was perfectly replicated by an artist and in 1985 an independent Bag and cushion section was established. Leather purses, bags, backpacks, office bags, cushions etc. are made here. 8 differently abled workers are engaged in manufacture here and they work with the help of sewing machines.
The metal fabrication department was established alongside Anandwan’s ‘Tin Can Project’, a project where cans to store goods were made out of tin. The department went from strength to strength, first satisfying the residents demand, and subsequently taking orders. One of the biggest successes of this department is the 3-wheeled cycle. Other than that, some of the work taking place in the metal fabrication department currently includes, beds, around 100 cupboards, drums to store grains, items made of tin, making chairs as well as any weaving required to manufacture the chairs, welding etc
Baba Amte insisted that everything needed for MSS, Warora should be made in MSS, Warora. Some of the rehabilitated patients had some experience in carpentry, and so, the equipment and wood required for the new residences began to be made here. Some of the things made here include the framework for construction, doors, and windows and before the metal fabrication department was established, even the beds, tables and cupboards were made here. This department is also involved with a lot of repair work.
A unique blend of art and skill, our wood art department is both awe-inspiring as well as thought provoking. Mr. Chandramani Maharana, a former Naxalite who lost his arm in a struggle against the police, is responsible for nurturing this department. He came to Anandwan after contracting leprosy and even made himself a wooden artificial limb to aid him in his work! Today, the wood art department has been handed over to Mr. Govinda Khopde. His USP is his bottle art and intricate carvings he makes out of a single piece of wood. Our Wood Art department is unique because no trees are cut in the name of art. However, the items found here are not for sale. Baba believed that the art found here is priceless and one cannot put a price on art.
Anandwan has a full-fledged printing press that prints notebooks, record books for Schools and Colleges run by Maharogi Sewa Samiti and all the stationery required by the Institution.
Rehabilitated leprosy afflicted patients require special footwear. Baba came up with an innovative idea to utilize waste tires for manufacturing footwear. Subsequently, chappals began to be made with MCR, a very soft material which refined the quality of the footwear. These chappals are created without the use of nails thus preventing exacerbation of wounds. MCR footwear is also advised for diabetic patients rendering a huge demand for this product. The school for vocational training- Sandhiniketan also imparts training to youth interested in learning this art.
MSS, Warora is an ever-growing organization. A dedicated construction team looks after all expansion projects and ensures quality and commitment.
Recycled plastic and agricultural waste is used for making posters. Other non-biodegradable objects like used saline bottles, cold drink bottle caps, guthka wrappers, cigarette packets are used to make chandeliers, different craftworks, etc.
This department is headed by Mr. Gani Chhaware, an artist who uses dried banana leaves, rice husks, and corn coverings to capture minute facial details of many famous personalities and makes masterful portraits without the use of colour. All 10 of the artists working here are either differently abled or cured leprosy patients and create more than 30 different designs and a 100 posters every month.
Greeting cards are a very personal and affectionate medium of expression. Dr. Vikas Amte established this department as a means for the residents of Anandwan to communicate and form a connection with the outside world as well as with each other. Organic substances like dried banana leaves, ripped clothes, dried barks, coloured paper, etc. are the main raw materials that are being used here amongst other waste material from the departments.