Agartala: The northeast is rich in natural resources, which if utilized properly, can give momentum to the process of development.
In West Tripura, the Gandhigram Craft Processing Centre has been working towards empowering rural women and generating employment by utilizing bamboo resources of the state.
The centre is a women run cluster that aims to bring economic development and generate employment by utilizing the bamboo resources of the state.
It started the training programme recently with an aim to generate employment and provide adequate income to the rural women. It has trained over 380 women till now.
The cluster, inaugurated in 2003, was set up in collaboration with International Network for Bamboo and Rattan (INBAR) and is supported by the Tripura Bamboo and Cane Development Centre.
"In Tripura, bamboo and raw materials required for making agarbati are available, so we thought of this project. And to involve the rural women, who do not have many income sources, we trained them to make incense sticks. They work here from 11 am to 4 pm and can earn around Rs 1000 to Rs 1200 per month. They do not have to make any investments here as we provide sticks and raw materials. We also encourage them to set up their own self-help group and small enterprises," said Dipa Talapatra, Supervisor.
The centre was recently awarded by President Pranab Mukherjee for its contribution in empowering women by utilizing locally available raw materials.
Bamboo is widely available in Tripura and hence, making bamboo products is an economically viable way of earning a livelihood.
The centre not only trains the women but also helps them by linking their products with the market.
The initiative of introducing incense stick making as a livelihood option has given new hope to the women folk who can now supplement their family income by utilizing their leisure time.
"The main advantage is that after completion of household chores we work here and make an extra income. With this amount we can educate our children, and this is a big help for us, said Amita Sarkar, a worker.
Such initiatives empower rural women by helping them become self-employed by utilizing easily available raw materials.