Dynastic Masters shift focus from Basketry to fairy Bamboo Lamps under Industree Foundation’s patronage ahead of Christmas

Around 200 marginalised women from Chamarajanagar district in Karnataka have been trained to design alluring bamboo lampshades at Mahila Swasahaya Mutual Benefit Trust, an initiative of Industree Foundation to empower women from marginalised communities by upskilling them in various crafts.

A rustic hamlet ‘Dasanapura’ in Chamarajanagar district, Karnataka has become an earning ground for a group of women deftly shaping fine slivers of bamboo to make beautiful bamboo lanterns in different shapes to hold fairy lights that promise to illuminate your Christmas.

From the strings of fairy lights come in different shapes and colours. They make fairy light holders in green, red, orange and natural colours come in the shape of balls and tiny cylinders.

Remya Devan, manager of bamboo chain Industree Foundation, started in 2020 that works in a quaint tribal village called Ponnachi, in Male Mahadeshwara hills, located on the Karnataka and Tamil Nadu border in Chamarajanagar district. 

A design and marketing team of Industree studies the market to understand what will sell. Then the design team comes up with products that are compatible with the skill levels of the women.

Jayamma, 35, is a homemaker hailing from  Chelavadi community, has been industriously, making the lanterns for the fairy lights that are much in demand during December and New Year’s Eve. 

She was trained for three months to upskill and hone her talent to make products such as baskets, lampshades, storage boxes, trays, lanterns and so on from bamboo.

She says, “The trainers taught us to make different products. We were told that we would get orders from the market for the different products that we have to work on. The market is very important because we have to see whatever products we are producing are getting sold.”

The collectives are owned, run and led by the women stakeholders themselves.

Dhanabagiyam is another women among 200-plus women working under the umbrella of Mahila Swasahaya Mutual Benefit Trust, a producer-owned collective enterprise comprising Dalit and Adivasi women from communities such as Soligas, Betta Kurubas and Nayakar in Chamarajanagar district of Karnataka. 

Shanti S is a member of Karnataka-based Mahila Swasahaya Mutual Benefit Trust, a women’s collective making bamboo products.

Categorised as full moon fairy lights, vine fairy lights, frill fairy lights, and jingle bell fairy lights, the strings come in red, green, orange and natural.  Three metres of the fairy lights costs about ₹549 while the 10-metre string of fairy lights costs ₹1,399.

She explains: “The annual income of the women was less than ₹10,000. We mobilised these women, many living in remote areas, and brought them together to form Mutual Benefit Trust (MBT). They are the owners and leaders of the Mahila Swasahaya MBT. Some amount of handholding was necessary for a year or two to help the women understand the market dynamics and to learn soft skills.”

One can also place the order over phone call at Contact 9035427706 or 8217346410. The lights are shipped all across India. 

Following the global shift towards sustainable products, the organisation intends to capitalise on one of India’s largest produce. 

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