JHARKHAND : After being thrown out of the house of her in-laws 10 years ago for being unable to fulfil a dowry demand of Rs 1 lakh, Madhumita Shaw could have given up. She did not, learnt something new. Today, the 39-year-old runs an organisation that provides livelihood to nearly 200 women from the tribal belts of Jharkhand.
She started with a small business of handicrafts made by tribal artisans, who prepared decorative and gift items at home. She used to sell them on a pavement near Jamshedpur market. Gradually, the demand increased and improved. This prompted her to register an organisation in 2016, which she named Pipal Tree.
Now, as many as 180 women tribal artisans are attached with her organisation, earning around `15,000 a month. Pipal Tree has a turnover of more than `60 lakh per annum. It has production centers in Ghatshila, Potka and Matladih in East Singhbhum district. Pipal Tree also provides vocational training to girls at 16 different Kasturba Residential Girls Schools in Jamshedpur and Ramgarh, Jamini Kant BEd Colleges in Ghatshila and an orphanage in Golmuri in East Singhbhum.
Madhumita, who looks after the administrative and marketing aspects, says it has been a long story of struggle. “After my marriage failed and I returned home, I was feeling very insecure as I did not have any source of income. I kept thinking what to do for a livelihood as I did want to become a liability on my parents. Having a diploma in retail management, I wanted to do something on my own so that the tribal women, who don’t have any source of income, can get some livelihood opportunity and become self-sufficient,” said Madhumita. “I started my journey with only three artisans. Now, I am managing 12 stalls.”
Initially, Madhumita had to go door to door to sell her products. “After forming Pipal Tree in 2016, it took around two years to establish this organisation. Gradually, I started employing needy local women after training them,” said Madhumita. Her younger brother Uttpal provided her support, she added.
Today, they have a wide range of products which are sold in stalls scattered all over the state. More than 200 items are prepared by these artisans, including decorative things, gift items and other products made of scrap wood. “It’s good to see dreams coming true. Gradually, these women are becoming self-sufficient and contributing financially to their families.”
Uttpal added 12 single parent women and two widows are supported by Pipal Tree. Mamta Namata, a tribal woman attached to the organisation, informed that she has been earning up to `7,000 a month by making gift items. “I have been attached to Madhumita didi for 6-7 years. I was trained by them in grinding and painting.” Mamta said that earlier, she had no source of income, but after being trained by Pipal Tree, she supports her family and provides education to her two children. Her husband works as a cook at a local hotel.
“Looking at the dedication of Madhumita, we provided a free stage to her NGO at the International Bamboo Conclave in Dumka. State government officers are aware of the commendable job she is doing,” said Ajay Kumar Singh, CEO of Mukhyamantri Laghu Kutir Udyam Vikas Board.