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When nine yard wonders bring rich returns
- Near Dhanbad, see how a simple business idea with old saris helps homemakers turn over new leaf
Women with the recycled saris at Simlibadi in Dhanbad. Telegraph picture

Dhanbad, Feb. 21: Munni Khatoon, a mother of three, could not wear a dazzling new sari at her wedding, but her daughters surely will.

Thanks to Munni’s business of recycling old saris, the family is making enough to be able to celebrate happy occasions.

She is not alone in this successful business-cum-micro-finance venture that is being supported by the Gramin Vikas Swabalambi Co-operative Society, Nabard, Canara Bank and Lifetech Development Institution Trust in Mugma (Nirsa).

So far, more than 5,000 women from nearby villages of Taldanga, Simlibadi and Pachmoli in the Chirkunda area of Nirsa block, around 40km from the district headquarters, have been benefited by it — they are all making a neat profit every month.

Samir Singh of Lifetech explains the business.

“Godowns in Sasaram, Champaran, Vaishali, Ara in north Bihar and Balia and Gorakhpur in Uttar Pradesh are known to stock old saris. Villagers take loans to buy these saris and other raw material which they use to clean up and refurbish the saris,” he said.

These old saris — from cottons to synthetics — are bought at Rs 5-10 a piece. After being reworked, they are sold in other villages for Rs 50-100.

“Once their business rolls out, they not only make a neat profit but are also able to repay their loans,” said Singh, who has adopted this model in Bangladesh as well.

Munni, who started her business in 2005, today earns around Rs 4,000 a month.

The immediate benefit: she has managed to enrol her daughters to a local school.

Husna Bano, another entrepreneur, earns almost double of what Munni makes and has now roped in her unemployed husband to help her. Sushila, in the sari business for two years now, already owns an acre of land for farming.

“We buy large stocks of saris. Then, in the workshop, we use a chemical to treat them. Within a few hours they are ready for resale,” said another entrepreneur, Sanima Khatoon, refusing to divulge other “trade secrets”.

While women make the saris, the menfolk do the marketing.

“Our husbands sell them door to door. They also accompany us to the mandis in Bihar and Uttar Pradesh to bring the old saris and other raw material,” she added.

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