Even though the women of Bajuha Khurd village have never attended any school, but that did not deter them from living their life independently.
The women belonging to below poverty line (BPL) families have made their mark in the village with their ‘Lovely’ washing powder.
‘Lovely Lao Kapde Chamkao’ says the tagline of the detergent prepared by women belonging to self- help groups (SHG) of Bajuha Khurd village in Nakodar. The SHGs work for women upliftment and welfare under various schemes of central and state government.
Lovely SHG currently has around 10 members. The group has been selling detergents to village-based shopkeepers and locals from last six years.
In the past six years, they have put stalls of their product in two fairs organised by district administration of Jalandhar and Kapurthala.
“Though we were also invited by Punjab Agriculture University (PAU) for Kisan Mela but since it is far, we did not attend the event,” said Paramjit Kaur, SHG member. The cost of one kg detergent is Rs 70. The group informed that they earn a profit of Rs 20 per kg.
“Earlier, 15 women of our village had agreed to run the group but some of them found it difficult to manage between daily chores and making the power,” said Harbans Kaur, who is in her 60s and heads the group.
“We learned how to prepare detergent only after attending two workshops that were held in the village,” she confidently said.
She said that when some Anganwadi workers had visited the village few years back, they had asked the village head if women in the village were interested in earning money independently.
“We liked the idea. They gave us different options to choose from like how to make pickles, candles and stitching but we found the preparation of detergent power more easy and interesting,” said Harbans Kaur. When asked about the ingredients that they put in the washing powder, members expressed ignorance but said that they mix the exact quantity in the mixture as they were taught by Anganwadi workers.
“We can prepare five kg detergent in just two hours,” informed Ranjeet Kaur, 55 another member of the group.
The group also contribute to the common funds. Harbans admitted that not all members of the group are regular but they have still managed to run the group. Gurmej Lal, sarpanch of Bajuha Khurd village though expressed gratitude towards administration in helping the village women in learning skills, he stressed that there is a room for more.
“The administration should make an effort to teach other skills to the rural women and also promote their works so that they can earn more,” said Lal.