Tuesday was a rare day for 34-year-old Pinki and neighbours Chaya, Pacho, Mangla and Uma Gulgulia when they held their head high, hoping to quit begging — their traditional means of livelihood — and lead a respectable life.
Thanks to a month-long bangle-making training programme launched by Dhanbad Municipal Corporation in association with a local self-help group, 40 women from the community of beggars residing at Gulgulia Bustee of Jharia in Dhanbad will now learn to do something better.
Chief executive officer of DMC Awdhesh Kumar Pandey said two trainers would teach them to make lac bangles for three-four hours daily. After completion of their training, organised under a Central scheme titled, Swarna Jayanti Swarojgar Yojna, each of them would get a certificate.
Mere training isn’t enough. Hence, the corporation has also come up with a future plan.
“We will make arrangements for marketing their products at the upcoming Shravani Mela in Deoghar in order to help them make some money,” said Pandey.
The corporation had plans to set them up at a permanent site so that the women could make lac bangles commercially and sell them in the open market. “However, for commercial production to take off, we will have to take the help of public sector banks,” he added.
The civic body also has a few plans for the Gulgulia community children, who are often compelled to accompany their parents while begging.
A school will soon be set up for them. “A three-room facility, which will be constructed after we identify land, will start functioning by April,” said Pandey. As many as 35 children have already been selected, added the chief executive officer.
“The civic body also plans to start a similar school for children of leprosy-affected parents at Bamasia Kusth Colony,” he revealed.
Anil Pandey, founder of NGO Samast Samarpan Foundation that has been working for the marginalised community for over four years, hailed the programme as a positive step.
“We will request the corporation to help set up a production centre in order to ensure a permanent source of income for them,” he added.