|Women prepare cakes of soap at Jina Khumujam’s residence in Imphal. A Telegraph picture
Woman entrepreneur on dignity drive
A woman entrepreneur of Manipur has joined hands with the Grassroots Innovations Augmentation Network (GIAN) to help the underprivileged, including those living with HIV/AIDS, become self reliant.
The co-ordinator of GIAN-North East, N. Shyam Hemam, told The Telegraph that Jina Khumujam, a resident of Khurai in Imphal, had also been helping the widows and the elderly people eke out a livelihood.
Khumujam, in her fifties, is imparting skills in manufacturing soaps using local herbs and medicinal plants, incense sticks and designer bags out of discarded cement bags, along with doormats, to the disadvantaged section to make them stand on their feet and lead a respectable life.
Many who had received training under her, now work with her at the workshop run from her residence, to produce these items that are in great demand in Manipur.
Impressed by Khumujam’s good work, GIAN-NE has come forward to help her start largescale production and widen her market base not only in Manipur but in the entire Northeast.
The technology upgrading will be done through supply of advanced machinery to ensure better product quality.
“This will help Khumujam go for commercial production and reach out to a larger market and continue her noble work on a wider scale,” Hemam said.
The GIAN-NE was set up by Ahmedabad-based National Innovation Foundation in Guwahati for providing support to grassroots innovations and traditional knowledge from the region.
The botanical garden at Jokai reserve forest near Dibrugarh has over the past few weeks suddenly turned into a paradise for hundreds of butterflies of different species that are visual delights for visitors and experts alike.
According to wildlife experts, the fragran ce of the flowers in full bloom is a major attraction for the colourful wonders of the forest that swarm the garden in droves and have made it their home.
Rajib Rudra Tariang, an expert from Digboi College, said he has so far recorded as many as 130 species of butterflies in and around the park.
Soumendra Saikia, a forest official posted at the centre, said the department was preparing a blueprint for turning the garden into a “butterfly park”.
Tiding over odds
|An elated Shivangi Sarma, minutes after she crossed the Ganga. Picture by Eastern Projections
When Shivangi Sarma visited Varanasi, the sight of the Ganga caught the imagination of the five-year-old ace swimmer.
Egged on by her father Prasanta, the little mermaid of Assam took the plunge in the holy waters while a huge gathering kept watching her feat with bated breath.
After creating waves in the historic Joysagar pond a little more than a year ago, Shivangi created ripples again by covering a 500-metre stretch of the Ganga in just 17 minutes.
A resident of Sivasagar, she visits her maternal grandparents in Varanasi every year.
“It all started when I told a family friend of my in-laws who is a regular swimmer in the Ganga, about my daughter’s feat in the Joysagar pond. He insisted that she should also try to tame the Ganga,” Shivangi’s father said.
“Though initially I was reluctant, later I made up my mind to take a chance and took precautionary measures. Three good swimmers accompanied her as escorts when I decided to take her for the trials on June 9. I took two rescue boats with me when I ventured out.
“It was a cakewalk for her. On the media’s insistence she, however, had to repeat the feat the very next day, swimming against the current,” Prasanta said.