When it comes to going ‘vocal for locals’, Phalguni Joshi, came out to work for the tribal women residing in Nilagiri district of Odisha.
To know what she did, and how, please spare a few minutes to read this.
What Made Phalguni Start Karmaar Crafts?
Phalguni Joshi was heartbroken to see the condition of tribal women in Nilagari district. They only had one source of income- working in mining fields. It negatively impacted the well-being and health of women.
Hence, she decided to start Karmaar Crafts and taught these women how to weave bamboo. If they acquired this skill, they get to enjoy a second source of income too. Plus, it will not hamper their health too. So, it was a win-win situation.
An added advantage to their newly found startup was that, in Odisha, bamboo was easily available and hence, it was perfect to be used for the welfare of the tribal women. When they started liking it, the number rose from 2 to 200, gradually.
Hence, their hard work resulted in beautifully crafted bamboo crafts that were eco-friendly and all of it is done by women, so it encourages women empowerment.
Challenges Faced By Phalguni
Initially, women were reluctant as the craft was associated with a particular community. So, to tackle this, Phalguni told Her Story, “Seeing that they were struggling to open up, I started learning the craft with them too. Some days, I would pick them up from their homes and drop them back after the training.”
Another challenge that she faced was that men didn’t want her to work. They considered that a woman wasn’t fit to be an entrepreneur. Due to this, she also lost various business deals as people couldn’t digest the fact that a woman was an entrepreneur.
However, she didn’t let all of this affect this, as she whole-heartedly wanted to work for the upliftment of tribal women.
A Look At Their Success
Phalguni aims to bring more women into this and train them so that they could also benefit. And in the near future, they are planning to go international with their elegant handmade bamboo products.
Through this, they have been able to provide employment opportunities to several women. Their bamboo baskets are used in Michelin star hotels and perfectly replace the plastic ones.
Lauding the startup, Phalguni told Pioneer, “It all began as an alternative source of revenue, there is a pot full of tribes plodding to vessel bamboo crafts. We are associated with a village where, earlier the women were hesitant and apprehensive to partner with us, but now they are self-governing women. They aren’t bound to us; they will always have free will.”
Their startup is being supported by Her&Now, which empowers women entrepreneurs in place of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development.
Image Sources: Google
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