Arjun Munda relishes an imarti at the fair in Ranchi on Friday. (Prashant Mitra)
It’s indeed a fair forum of and by women, but meant for everyone.
In keeping with the ongoing Bitiya Varsha celebrations, Jharkhand IAS Officers’ Wives’ Association (JIASOWA) is raising a toast to Genext female entrepreneurs though this year’s Diwali Utsav — an annual fixture in the capital’s events calendar.
The seventh edition of JIASOWA Diwali Utsav kicked off at the sprawling Zilla School grounds on Friday with 225 kiosks. Chief minister Arjun Munda inaugurated the mela on Friday evening.
A majority of kiosks has been put up by young entrepreneurs who have come from places like Gujarat, Rajasthan, Bihar, Manipur and Bengal with their festive offerings of decorative candles, designer diyas, artificial aromatic decorative flowers, bandarwars and rangolis.
The proceeds from the fair will go towards the welfare of orphans, girls’ education, treatment of cancer patients and organising health and eye camps. “We are observing Bitiya Varsh and the fair gave us an ideal opportunity to display the handmade products of aspiring entrepreneurs who are slowly finding their way in the market,” said secretary of JIASOWA Sarita Pandey.
If the association’s members made meticulous plans to make the annual event a complete success, the participating young entrepreneurs are no less enthusiastic.
“We feel privileged to be part of the fair. It gives us a promising platform to find buyers for our products, all thanks to JIASOWA. I am selling designer diyas, candles and bandarwars, all of which have been designed by me,” said 18-year-old Nidhi Agarwal of Ranchi.
Nidhi believes the fair will help her find clients, as she is looking forward to start her own business from home.
A few from rural Jharkhand like Rashmi Midha (21) of Jamtara district also hopes to cash in on the opportunity to find a market for her otherwise little-known creative expertise. “We are showcasing framed handicraft items made with paddy straw, which is treated before using. We get an opportunity once a year to find a buying platform for our products for which we are grateful to JIASOWA,” she added.
The framed handicraft items, mostly miniatures of dancing Ganesha, Charlie Chaplin and tribal dancers, are sure to attract visitors and are priced between Rs 50 and Rs 500.
Sangeeta Bathwal (26) from Ranchi, on the other hand, is hoping to make brisk business with her unique nameplates, diyas, rangolis, swastika and frames.
Around 300 female entrepreneurs are taking part in the Utsav. The entry fee is Rs 5. There will also be a lucky draw with winners being declared every day. A separate food section comprising 10-15 kiosks selling mouthwatering delicacies has also been set up.
The fair is open from 11am till 8pm till November 5.