Jharkhand's Sakhi Didis make eco-friendly rakhis, earn profit
Raksha Bandhan festival carries a special flavour this year for the rural women of self-help groups across eight districts of Jharkhand as the more than 25,000 rakhis they have made are selling out fast.
Vishnu Rajgadia 10 Aug 2022 12:04 PM GMT
For the Raksha Bandhan festival, 'Sakhi Didis' in Jharkhand have created beautiful rakhis that are set to adorn the wrists of beloved brothers tomorrow, August 11, when this festival of the love of brother-sister will be celebrated across the country. Other than celebrating the special brother-sister relationship, the rakhi festival has opened up opportunities to hundreds of rural women in Jharkhand who are creating eco-friendly rakhis to earn some money.
Approximately 550 women across eight districts of Jharkhand, namely Ranchi, Hazaribagh, Dumka, Giridih, Ramgarh, Bokaro, Dhanbad and Lohardaga, who are members of 75 self-help groups (SHG), have made more than 25,000 rakhis.
These rakhis are available on Palash Mart, a mobile app which sells products made by the state's rural women under the brand Palash. Palash Mart stalls have also been set at various locations across the state. This year, the tiranga or the tricolour rakhi has been popular on account of the ongoing Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav celebrations.
"Our samuh (SHG) has 14 women of which five make the rakhis and the others pack and market them," Anju Devi, who heads Bhavani Aajivika Sakhi Mandal, an SHG in Parasi Panchayat, Hazaribagh district, told Gaon Connection.
The women have made about 250 rakhis of which 100 are already sold, said a pleased Anju Devi. She was confident that the rest would also sell out and if they did, the SHG would make a profit of Rs 5,000.
The preparations for Raksha Bandhan began a while ago in Jharkhand. The Jharkhand State Livelihood Promotion Society has trained women in making the rakhis and the 25,000 finished rakhis are being promoted and marketed as 'Didi Ki Rakhi' under the Palash brand, on Palash Mart online and in physical stores.
The women of the SHGs are making rakhis with natural materials such as rice, cotton yarn, turmeric, etc. There are nearly 25 different designs of rakhis that are made.
According to Aruna Devi, who is responsible for selling the rakhis made by the Roshini Aajivika Sakhi Mandal in Ranchi, a lot of hard work and creativity went into the making of the rakhis. "While these rakhis cost only Rs 40 each, they are worth a lot more," she told Gaon Connection.
In Govindpur, Dhanbad, there are around 55 women of an SHG who have so far made about 5,000 rakhis. "We have rakhis that cost anything between five rupees and fifty rupees," Poonam Sahay, who heads a Sakhi Mandal there, told Gaon Connection. "We are hoping to earn about Rs 60,000 from the sale of rakhis," she added.
According to Sahay, "The Jharkhand State Livelihood Promotion Society has opened up Palash Counters across the district to sell the rakhis. We find there is a lot of demand for our rakhis," she said.
The Hazaribagh Sakhi Mandal has made rakhis using cloth with motifs of smileys, emojis, rudraksh beads, etc. The handcrafted rakhis are priced between Rs 10 and Rs 280.
The investment on making the rakhis is about Rs 16 or Rs 17, said Lalita Devi from Radha Sakhi Mandal in Kutumsukri village, Hazaribagh, told Gaon Connection. "Even if we can sell it for about Rs 25 each, we make a good profit. If we are successful this year, we will make many more rakhis next year," she said.
Mehnaz Begum is from Hesabatu village in Bokaro district and the SHG she belongs to has so far made 8,000 rakhis. "We are hoping to make a profit of about twenty five to thirty thousand rupees," she told Gaon Connection. "The Livelihood Mission people trained us and we are selling the rakhis through Palash Mart," Mehnaz Begum said.
Geeta Devi is a member of the Lakshmi Mahila SHG. "I am making rakhis for the first time. A team from Dhanbad taught us how to make rakhis and bangles," she told Gaon Connection. "I have earned about Rs 1,500 so far, I am hoping to earn about Rs 6,000," she said.
Palash Mart at Hehal in Ranchi stocks the fancy and reasonably priced rakhis made by the SHG didis.
The Jharkhand State Livelihood Promotion Society, under the rural development department, has made admirable use of the Sakhi Mandals in Jharkhand. The products made by the women are being marketed under Palash Brand that Hemant Soren, chief minister of Jharkhand had launched in 2020. Under the brand 29 quality agri and non-agri based products are being made available in the markets.
According to the rural development department, the Palash Branded products have brought in nearly Rs 8 crore into the state and the aim is to bring it up to Rs 50 crore. Every district has a Palash Brand outlet. The products are also available on Amazon, Flipkart and other online portals.
Happy Raksha Bandhan!