The tribal-dominated Kondagaon district in Chhattisgarh is poised to make a mark in markets across the country with exquisite designer bangles and handlooms, thanks to the tireless and dedicated efforts of the women in the state. The tribal women are being trained to make designer bangles and handlooms under the aegis of the 37-year-old Dandakaranya Bunkar Samiti, which will make them financially independent. This will not only improve their standing in the society, but also give these women the chance to participate in and contribute to the economy of India by actively engaging in employment-oriented activities. The village panchayat of Borgaon, which is located around 25 km from the district headquarter, is making significant efforts to link women from the village with employment-generating activities. The administration has entrusted the task of skilling women from the region to manufacture bangles to Bilaspur-based Asha Education Welfare Society, and the training programme has already started. Around 100 women are expected to take part in the month-long training-cum-production programme, following which each member can earn Rs 300 to Rs 400 per day.
The raw material will be provided by Asha Education Welfare Society, and the members of Dandakaranya Bunkar Samiti will soon start producing bangles with under a brand name. Once it takes off, the venture will open up a second hub in the country for the production of glass bangles after Firozabad in Uttar Pradesh. “To provide a proper platform for display and selling of bangles, sarees, bedsheets, towels and other handloom items manufactured by the women of Dandakaranya Bunkar Samiti, and strengthen them economically, the state government is developing a showroom in the district. The showroom is expected to turn operational from September this year,” said Kondagaon Collector Neelkanth Tekam. The showroom will also ensure indirect employment opportunity to around 30 people, he added. He added that bangle manufacturing is expected to ensure employment to around 110 women in the village. All possible support will be extended to these women, and the samiti will be linked with multi-dimensional activities of economic development. According to Assistant Director of Khadi Gramodyog in Kondagaon, Nitin Bais, of the 300 members that the samiti has, around 60 women are actively engaged in manufacturing gauze bandages. Efforts are underway to launch the bandage in the open market by linking 50 more members, which will ensure higher profitability to these women.
Plans are also underway to attract pharmaceutical companies. With the showroom for handlooms likely to be operational from September this year, work related to the manufacture of sarees, bedsheets, towels and other items will start soon, said Bais. Due to a lack of industrial establishments in the region, it has been tough for women to find employment so far, but now, the Dandakaranya Bunkar Samiti in increasing its engagement with around 300 women in employment-oriented activities, which will soon see this part of Chhattisgarh flourish.