How a Tribal Lady’s ‘Bamboo Kandils’ Captured the World Stage

Homemaker, mom and bamboo artist, Namita Namdev Bhurkood of Maharashtra’s Tetwali village has educated 57 tribal girls in making Diwali kandils which have a requirement within the UK and US too.

Coming from a small village known as Tetwali in Maharashtra, Namita Namdev Bhurkood discovered one of many extra emphasised roles rising up — being a good homemaker. What she didn’t realise for a very long time was that she is also the breadwinner of a house.

As she rightly places it, life is generally about “rediscovering your self” each different day. Now, she finds herself in multiple position — a mom, a homemaker, a bamboo artist, in addition to the president of the ladies’s self-help group within the village.

This group transforms bamboo into lovely merchandise — corresponding to kandils (sky lanterns), telephone holders, rakhis, dustbins, picture frames, carts, hangers, keychains and way more. Not too long ago, she led a gaggle of seven girls on the G20 Summit in India to showcase their merchandise.

“It felt like we have been in a film. There have been leaders and influential individuals throughout us. By no means in my desires had I imagined that I might be in a spot like that, not to mention lead a staff,” Namita tells The Higher India.

This Diwali, the group was capable of promote over 3,000 kandils. “Our merchandise are offered all around the world together with nations just like the US, UK, Australia and Canada,” she informs. 

From distant villages to G20

Namita’s journey in the direction of independence is a narrative infused with doses of inspiration and self-belief.

Recalling her days earlier than she discovered the craft of bamboo, she says, “My days would principally revolve round cleansing, cooking, and caring for my household. I might be a part of my husband within the fields, however that was it,” says the 29-year-old.

Namita Namdev selling bamboo products.
Namita Namdev sells handcrafted bamboo merchandise. Image credit score: Namita

Their earnings from farming weren’t sufficient to assist a joint household. “My husband and his brother would work laborious within the area, however there was by no means sufficient cash to maintain comfortably,” she says. “Moreover, the yield would at all times rely upon the local weather and a variety of different elements. So, I wished to contribute to the earnings however was undecided how to try this.”

It was in 2001 when Namita noticed a glimmer of hope. “Different girls within the village, who have been offering coaching in making bamboo merchandise, knowledgeable me that they’d additionally supply employment as soon as we accomplished our coaching,” she says.

Nonetheless, her enthusiasm was curbed by the individuals round her. “The neighbours and our household mates have been towards sending the ladies of the home outdoors to work. They doubted our potential to earn something, however my mother-in-law stood up for us,” she says.

By then, each Namita and her sister-in-law had additionally assumed the position of moms and had further duties. “Our husbands and my mother-in-law determined to indicate religion in us and gave us immense assist to go for the coaching,” she says.

“My mother-in-law would deal with our children after we attended the coaching classes. She would additionally assist us in family work and guarantee we had sufficient time to good our craft,” she provides.

The coaching was being held by an NGO known as ‘Keshav Srushti’ headed by Gaurav Shrivastava. It was an initiative to advertise girls’s empowerment and make them financially impartial.

Talking concerning the initiative, Gaurav says, “The initiative started to empower tribal girls financially within the area. Regardless of ample bamboo manufacturing, it wasn’t utilised successfully. Due to this fact, I organised self-help teams to coach girls in creating bamboo merchandise, which might then be offered nationwide.”

Namita has trained over 57 women from around her village
Namita has educated over 57 girls from round her village. Image credit score: Namita Namdev

He additional informs that this Diwali, they offered greater than 3,000 bamboo kandils. “Our merchandise will not be solely offered in India however all through the world. We now have 23 villages and 700 girls making bamboo merchandise for us,” he says.

Speaking concerning the merchandise, Gaurav notes, “The initiative’s most important aim was at all times to provide different livelihood to tribal girls, however we additionally wished to convey different eco-friendly merchandise into the market. All our merchandise are pure and made one hundred pc out of bamboo. We wish to unfold the message of sustainability too with our initiative.”

‘I convey the second earnings in my dwelling’

The coaching interval was about 30 days lengthy, says Namita. “When Gaurav sir requested us what are the makes use of of bamboo, I used to be undecided tips on how to reply his query. We’d typically use it to make carriers however that was it. I used to be shocked to see what number of helpful issues may be made out of bamboo,” she says.

As soon as the coaching interval was over, we began to get some work. “Initially, we used to get fewer orders, however we saved working laborious. Quickly, we acquired extra orders. I had religion that if we saved on working, the demand would enhance and we might make more cash,” she says.

She continues, “Collectively, we’ve got now established an organization by the title ‘Vikramgad Bamboo Udyog Producer Firm Restricted’ and we’ll quickly be taking orders on-line too.”

On common, Namita now makes a mean of Rs 9,000 each month. “I really feel very proud that I’m able to contribute to the family earnings. I end my family work, then assist my husband with the sphere work earlier than continuing to work on the bamboo items,” she says including that the work offers them the flexibleness to take it up each time they’ve time.

The group makes products such as kandils (sky lanterns), phone holders, rakhis, dustbins, and much more.
The group makes merchandise corresponding to kandils (sky lanterns), telephone holders, rakhis, dustbins, and way more. Image credit score: Namita Namdev

Namita has additionally educated a number of girls in her village and close by villages within the artwork.

“I would like as many ladies to be impartial as attainable. I’ve educated greater than 57 girls thus far and hope to coach extra. With the institution of our firm, we hope to get extra work. Crucial factor is that younger ladies of the village now don’t take into consideration migrating to town for work, they keep within the village and make bamboo merchandise,” she shares.

Reflecting on her journey thus far, Namita says, “It’s not about how a lot I make each month or that I used to be capable of signify our artwork and village on a global degree, however quite concerning the confidence it has infused in me. I might have by no means imagined myself doing any of these items as a baby, however right this moment, right here I’m! I would like each lady to expertise this independence.”

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(Edited by Pranita Bhat)

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