Nagaland: As you sew so shall you reap
Eastern Mirror Desk
Dimapur, July 22: A sewing machine has changed the lives of the members of a self-help group (SHG) run by women in Dimapur. ‘Donhao’, which means ‘to grow’ in Rongmei dialect, started in September 3, 2013 by a group of 14 women from Burma camp.
Donhao SHG started with a membership collection of INR 100 each; and the women employed themselves by making use of their skills in handloom and handicraft. After six years of Donhao SHG, their hard work and persistence has paid off, landing themselves a project worth INR 13 lakh.
The former secretary of Donhao, Peijai Kamei interacted with reporters on Monday in Dimapur and shared that the group members, who are all married, with the eldest aged 70, initially sold their finished products, which includes traditional jewellery, bags, sandals, mekhala to name a few, in their locality.
Donhao, she said, was just confined to Burma Camp and the members were not aware of any prospect or assistance available until 2018 when they were introduced to Toka Multipurpose Corporative Society Ltd. in Dimapur. The Society provided them with a tailoring machine and INR 1 lakh with a minimum interest rate of 1%.
Through the loan money, they procured enough raw materials and purchased two tailoring machines, two interlock sewing machines and one loom. The tailoring machine made their work easier and the machineries they have are sufficient for their group, they said.
Through Toka MPCS Ltd., they empanelled the group with the Tribal Cooperative Marketing Development Federation of India (Trifed). Trifed has 108 stores spread across the country.
“The initial stage of Donhao was not easy as we had thought of giving up several times because of financial constraint and time management but we kept pushing and encouraging each other to continue with what we started—more importantly to set a working example for our children”, the group shared.
“Donhao initially was formed to inculcate work culture and not waste our time. Although everyone of us are married, after our household chores, most of the time we sit idle doing nothing, and we thought this might set a bad example to our children. Consequently we thought of trying our hands on what we were good at: handloom and handicraft,” Kamei recounted.
“Another reason was to focus on our traditional crafts which we were already skilled at so that although the youngsters are not fond of wearing traditional attire, we knew our traditional attire and culture are unique and are appreciated by the other people”, they said.
After getting the group empanelled with Trifed, the samples of their products were sent to the Trifed office in Guwahati. Satisfied with the quality of their work, they received an order for their products worth INR 13 lakh on June 26, to be delivered in four months’ time.
They have also received orders from nine cities, namely Jaipur, Mumbai, Kolkata, Bhopal, Hyderabad, Dehradun, Bangalore, Delhi and Bhubaneswar.
Through their Donhao journey, they said that they have realised the importance of community participation, to encourage each other and create impact.