ACIC IIT-ISM foundation training contributes to a rise in villager’s income

by Ashis Sinha

Meet Shankar Mohli (22), a resident of Punardih village in the Tundi block around 23 kms from the district headquarter of Dhanbad, who makes baskets out of bamboo collected from local forests to add to the family income. He was dissatisfied with the meagre income generated through the sale of baskets and was yearning for a better job to alleviate the financial constraints that his family was facing.

However, he is content today after participating in a week-long bamboo art programme in his village from April 19 to April 25. ACIC IIT (ISM) Foundation organised the workshop in association with HDFC Bank, informed Rajni Singh, Dean, Media & Branding of IIT-ISM Dhanbad.

Shankar and 30 of his fellow villagers learned the art during this session. The ACIC IIT (ISM) Foundation is training the people who live in the Punardih hamlet in Tundi, how to make bamboo crafts to get higher prices for their wares.

For Shankar, all of this, as a new glimmer of optimism is glittering in his eyes that the art he learned throughout the week-long training of weaving new products such as flower vases, lampshades, pen stands, fruit baskets, star lights, and coffee mugs from bamboo will allow him to fetch better incomes.

Shankar stated, “I am very happy after completing the training. The fact is that three other family members learned the art during the same workshop, and as a result, our cumulative income will be much higher than the current income as all will contribute to a rise in family income.”

“All five of my siblings, including four brothers and one sister, have obtained education in the local government school of the village, and I was keen on educating my elder brother’s son in better equipped private school but could not do so due to our meagre income, but now I can hope for something better to happen after our income increases due to better sell of our new products,” added Shankar.

Notably, the ACIC IIT (ISM) foundation, an incubation centre funded by IIT (ISM) and NITI Aayog, aims to create opportunities for enterprises and start-ups, bringing innovative solutions that solve the community problem regularly organizes skill development training for unskilled people of deprived section of society.

The only source of income for the residents of Punardih village was weaving baskets from bamboo, although the baskets were sold at a meagre cost of Rs 50 per item in the market.

“It took us more than three months to convince the villagers about the requirements of the present market, after which we organised the workshop where training was imparted free of cost through the five expert trainers of Tinkerhat Innovation Foundation from Deoghar and Ranchi, hired for the purpose,” said Akansha Sinha, Chief Executive Officer, ACIC IIT (ISM) Foundation.

The products like fruit baskets, lampshades, pen stands, flower vases, starlight, and coffee mugs made by the artists as per the newly learnt skill will range from Rs 300 to Rs 1000, much higher than the rate of bamboo baskets being sold at present by the villagers, she said.

“We have hired a local vendor who will be collecting the products made by the villagers as per the newly learned skill, and products will be marketed by him, ensuring higher income for the villagers,” said Akansha adding, “They listed their products on Amazon too.”

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