Chhattisgarh women make cow dung rakhis, add ‘corona warrior’ motifs
Around 100 women are engaged in making the cow dung and seed rakhis, out of which 10 carve out the moulds and the rest then paint them.Updated: Jul 11, 2020 14:27 IST
Hundreds of women in Dhamtari district of Chhattisgarh are making rakhis with cow dung for the upcoming festival of Raksha Bandhan to earn their livelihood.
The initiative is being carried out in coordination with Dhamtari National Rural Livelihood Mission, trainers and self-help group in Chipli gram panchayat and Arya Prerna Samiti.
“In the entire exercise from production to packaging, around 200 women from two villages are getting their livelihood through a self-help group (SHG). The response we received has now inspired us to create a range of Corona warrior rakhis with the tricolour, red cross, swachhata spectacles and other such motifs particular to different departments and clubs,” Uma Devi, the trainer of these women, said.
Around 100 women are engaged in making the cow dung and seed rakhis, out of which 10 carve out the moulds and the rest then paint them.
The other group creates the bamboo and thread bases to rest these seeds on. Once done, they package them in in-house handmade paper bags or cloth bags.
The idea for seed embedded cow dung rakhis came from Durgesh Nandini and Manju Chandrakar.
“In rural areas, people are closely connected with cow dung in their daily routine. Using this is considered a good omen to start festivities. Using them for seed balls is a new twist and opens a whole lot of possibilities for modern variations to this widely available local resource,” Chandrakar said.
She said the prices of these rakhis vary from Rs 40 to Rs 100 depending on the bamboo base used. Made as a salute to frontline workers, the tricolour, red cross and swachhata rakhis are available for Rs 20 along with courier charges.
“If we hit our sales target, about which we are optimistic, each woman will take home Rs 10,000 for a month’s work,” Devi said.
Namrata Gandhi, the chief executive officer of Zila Panchayat, said people’s response to these rakhis has been encouraging.
Gandhi said they had started training the women with the support from Arya Prerna Samiti before the coronavirus pandemic broke. She said the energy and ideas of the women inspired them to create around 15,000 rakhis.
“There was a lag due to the Covid lockdown. But the women remained eager to get on with the work. With due precautions, we restarted work at our multi-utility centres. Keeping in mind the upcoming Rakhi festival, these women decided to make rakhis,” said Gandhi.
“The public response to this initiative has been very encouraging. Local NGOs have come forward to help market these swadeshi rakhis. We have also trained women to sell them so that in the future it’s an added skill for them. Our next target is to create a range of ethnic lifestyle products with a modern twist,” Gandhi added.
Raksha Bandhan, a festival of the bond between brothers and sisters, will be celebrated on August 3.