Babita Kumari, Community Journalist
Bahmani (Jharkhand).These women residing in villages of Jharkhand didn't have any source of income till sometime back. But now they make brooms out of bamboo and earn anywhere between Rs 1,200 and 1,500 a month thanks to a self help group formed under the aegis of Jharkhand State Livelihood Promotion Society, which is helping them to be self-sufficient.
Gango Devi, 35, resides in Silli Prakhand's Bahmani village, which is 55 kms from Ranchi. Earlier, she used to tag along with her husband, Vasudev, and together they would collect sticks from forest and sell those. But they were not making enough money.
"It was getting difficult to feed my family. We didn't have any land where we could farm. We were stuck. It was in 2013 when I got in touch with Sakhi Mandal. They offered me a loan of Rs 5,000. I used this money to start my bamboo broom making business," says Gango Devi.
"I buy one bamboo for Rs 30-50, which is sufficient to make 3-4 brooms. One broom fetches me anywhere between Rs 25 and Rs 45 rupees. If I manage to sell all the brooms, I make around Rs 1,200 to Rs 1,500 a month," she adds while weaving these bamboo sticks to make brooms, which are durable and suitable for hilly areas. She buys raw material from her village.
Gango Devi's husband and mother-in-law now help her in her 'business'. Many such groups have come up in these villages. Her group is called Bajrangbali Mahila Samiti.
Bahmani village is located in the middle of a forest and most of the villagers are either farmers or daily wage earners. "People here are very poor. These self help groups have helped many women. Gango Devi took a loan of Rs 5,000. She makes brooms and sells them in Jonha village. She has to pay for commuting as well and it really helps if she manages to sell all the brooms," says Lakshmi Devi, block officer and president of the group. "They earn around Rs 1,500 a month, which is not enough, but something is better than nothing," she adds.