Products made by a group of women in Hatgachhia near Dhapa have travelled to an exhibition in Dubai.
Jute table runners, mats, coasters, clips made with crochet work and cotton frocks for children are only some of the things that were shipped to Dubai last week and have been sold out.
The items were made by women in a slum off EM Bypass, who had started stitching and doing embroidery to sustain their families during the lockdown, when many of their husbands, and some of the women themselves, lost their jobs.
The women were initiated into the project by Arpita Chakraborty, a teacher at a government school. Apart from engaging the women in stitching and embroidery, she also taught their children.
The women used to work as domestic help or would segregate waste in Dhapa. Their husbands or fathers worked as rag-pickers or sweepers.
“I had got an information about the exhibition and I wanted to take the products made by our women. Since I was carrying the items myself, I could only take a limited stock. But my objective was to assess the market,” said Chakraborty.
It was during the pandemic that Tanuz Vocational Training Society, an NGO Chakraborty is associated with, launched a line of children’s dresses — called “Khudey” — made by women of Hatgachhia.
“We have participated in exhibitions in Kolkata and Guwahati and the response was good. I, therefore, dared to go to Dubai to test the waters there,” said Chakraborty.
Many of the women trained under Chakraborty’s guidance now run their own businesses.
“It is important to be economically independent and do something that earns them respect. It is an achievement that in three years — the women have been able to create their own space and market. When they told me they want to work independently, I was happy because it is not possible for me to give work to many women,” said Chakraborty.
Currently, she works with around 12 women, who earn between Rs 2,000 and Rs 3,000 a week.
Behula Bauri has been with the project since August 2020. Financial crisis at home during the lockdown forced her to learn embroidery. Now, she earns enough to meet the expenses of her son’s studies.
“I knew a little bit of embroidery. I learned more here. Hopefully, there will be more work in future,” she said.
Fun Prime: an Indo-Bangla OTT initiative
Fun Prime, an Indo-Bangla OTT initiative, was launched at the Calcutta Press Club on Wednesday. The platform will be bankrolled by OTT Solutions, an Indian digital streaming solutions provider, and Rock Streamer, a Bangladeshi media production unit. Actor Barun Chanda, Trinamul councillor Debasish Kumar, Rock Streamer director Tapan Dasgupta, and director of OTT Solutions, Sudip Bose were present at the event. “Fun Prime will offer a user-friendly interface, intuitive navigation and personalised recommendations, ensuring that viewers have a seamless and enjoyable streaming experience across various devices. The platform’s cuttingedge technology and robust infrastructure will provide high-quality video streaming, delivering content in stunning visuals and immersive sound,” Bose said. The launch happened simultaneously in India, Bangladesh and the Middle East. The platform promises to offer a wide range of latest music videos, audio, films and live TV shows, and is supported on iOS, android, web, and television platforms.