Sunday, October 16, 2011

Coconut palm roof is poor man’s shelter friend in rural areas

Cocunut thatched sit-out in Amoor cottages of SEVAI
The Cauvery belt of Trichirappalli District of Tamilnadu has thousands of Coconut trees and each part of Coconut tree is functionally useful for human beings. A poor man can have a shelter at affordable cost with coconut thatched roof for shelter. SEVAI promoted thatch weaving skill to Women SHGs as source of income of their target villages in Trichirappalli District. A thatched palm roof is made by weaving together palm leaves. Thatch roofs are inexpensive to make and can last for several years. Most roofs will need to be replaced after seven years, and some will need to be repaired each year. Thatched palm is a light weight material that can be easily lifted and placed on a roof. The palm leaves, or fronds, are woven tightly to prevent leaks and are suitable for use on huts and other cost effective shelters. The women self help groups of SEVAI weave the thatch panels by selecting fronds that are not dead or dry. The leaves should be supple. A brittle frond is not suitable for weaving because it will break or split during the weaving process. The women cut the fronds in half with a sharp knife. Lay the frond on a flat surface and cut along the middle of the frond down its spine. The cut spines should be of equal thickness. The women SHG skilled persons Count five leaves from the end of the frond half and bend it near the spine in the opposite direction of its growth, Weave the bent leaf over the fourth leaf, under the third leaf, over the second leaf and under the first leaf. The skilled persons count two leaves from the bent leaf and bend it in the same direction and weave it over and under until they  reach the first leaf. They weave the ends of the leaves into the woven leaves by bending them backward and weaving them in and out of the underside of the thatching. Place the frond halves back to back. Tie them together with twine to make one thatched panel. They tie the woven thatch panels to the bottom of the roof with twine. The spines of the fronds should create a horizontal row around the roof. Pull the twine around the spines of the fronds and tie it tightly to the roof. The bottom of the panels should hang several inches over the edge of the roof. The roof makers place a second row of thatch panels over the top of the lower thatch panels; Tie the spines of the second row to the spines of the first row and Continue to add rows until you reach the top of the roof. They fold woven thatch panels over the ridge of the roof and Place a thatch panel across the ridge of the roof and tie it to the beam across the ridge, Lay a second panel over it in the opposite direction, Tie it to the roof, Place another panel so that it overlaps half of the first two panels and tie it to the roof. Lay a fourth panel over it and tie it to the roof and continue overlapping and tying thatch panels until the entire ridge is covered. Thus the roof has been made by the skilled persons with coconut palm thatches. -Govin

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