#VocalForLocal: Rural artisans showcase women power at this crafts festival in Noida
“My husband told me he wouldn’t help me with my business; I joined this self-help group with a few thousand rupees I borrowed from family, and now I’m financially independent,” says Saraswati Devi, one of the 300 rural women from various self-help groups (SHGs) who are displaying their skills at the Saras Aajeevika Mela, ongoing at Noida Haat.
The mela promotes local artisans, keeping in mind PM Narendra Modi’s clarion call of #VocalForLocal. Organised by the Ministry of Rural Development and National Institution of Rural Development & Panchayati Raj (NIRDPR), it features a curated collection of handloom and handicrafts such as Andhra Pradesh’s Kalamkari work, Mekhla chadar from Assam and tribal jewellery from Jharkhand.
Showcasing Chhattisgarh’s famous Kosa sarees, Malamati, an artisan, says, “It takes us a lot of time to prepare each saree, and they get sold for anything between ₹6,000 to ₹12,000. I’m happy to be here since there had been no exhibition for almost the whole of last year due of the pandemic. We can hopefully make up for our losses now by showcasing at this event.”
A range of natural food products such as spices, mixes and desserts are also on sale for visitors. Reena Chandel from UP’s Hamirpur has a stall featuring papaya burfi made without oil or additives. “We have 80 women working in our SHG, who prepare these sweets that are sold across the country. Aise events pe hum logon ko apne products ki jankari de paate hain. We also get better access to wider markets, and can share our stories with the world,” says Chandel.
Visitors can also enjoy the varied cultural performances that are scheduled every evening, at the venue, which is hosting this event for the first time ever. And apart from crafts, a range of cuisines made by traditional local female chefs from states across India are also on offer to satiate the taste buds of foodies visiting this mela. Sharbina, an artisan from Kerala, while prepping delicacies such as Chicken Kallikkod and Malabar Chicken Biryani, tells us: “We are happy that people in the North can also enjoy these popular dishes from the South. Thanks to this platform that have allowed us to offer what we have and popularise our cooking skills!”
Catch It Live
What: Saras Aajeevika Mela 2021 Where: Noida Haat, Sector 33A, Noida City Centre On till: March 14Timing: 11am to 8pm Nearest Metro Station: Noida City Centre on Blue Line
Author tweets @bhagat_mallika