The Telegraph
Wednesday , March 9 , 2011
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Help them weave a better life

Jamshedpur, March 8: Bamboo will blaze a trail of economic boom for rural self-help group (SHG) members under Jharcraft, mostly women.

Jharkhand’s handloom and handicraft corporation is set to churn out bamboo utility products, following an agreement inked with the Kerala-based NGO, Esaf.

The southern NGO that enjoys a pan-India presence with nine lakh women members, will start small in Jharkhand, initially training members of around 500 SHGs in six districts, to make bamboo waste bins, photo frames, shoe racks, among others.

The NGO will also give artisans a grounding in micro-finance to enable them generate working capital.

Esaf has already been working with Jharcraft in Godda and Dumka on a trial basis with six SHGs for the past six months, giving them design and marketing inputs. They will oversee bamboo production and micro-finance generation for the SHGs.

“We have been working with Esaf for some time and the experience has been good. This prompted us to sign an MoU with them and expand the ambit of partnership in six districts such as Godda, Dumka, Pakur, Sahebganj, Jamtara and Giridih,” said Dhirendra Kumar, managing director, Jharcraft.

Utility products have also been chosen with care. Bamboo items normally have artistic value, which creates fast market saturation. But now, demand for utility items would be recurrent, feels Jharcraft, giving continuous income for artisans.

Jharcraft will also launch an artisans’ pension scheme under Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority.

In the scheme, members will each contribute Rs 1,000 per month for a regular income on reaching ‘retirement age’, that is, 58 years.

This apart, Jharcraft has also bagged an order for one lakh pairs of shoes from Forest Development Corporation for kendu leaf pluckers.

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