- NET Web Desk
The unprecedented times of COVID-19, and its gloomy impact on the lives of millions posed both physical and psychological challenges. Amid such an hour, when people lost their livelihood, and striving to emerge from such devastations, a 27-year-old lady named Bijiyashanti Tongbram from Manipur transformed herself into a social entrepreneur providing employment to 30 other women, thereby making them self-reliant.
The 27-yr-old Botany graduate stands as a perfect instance to the recent announcement of MSME’s initiative for creation of 1 lakh jobs across the northeastern state.
Bijiyashanti owns a start-up ‘Sanajing Sana Thambal’, a unique venture of spinning yarn from the lotus stem. Her cottage industry, is established just a few kilometers away from Loktak – a freshwater lake famous for numerous unique floating islands known as “Phumdis” and blooming Lotus.
In an attempt to generate income for elder residents, and women, Bijiyashanti first researched the process of weaving threads from lotus.
According to Bijiyashanti, the course on entrepreneurship under Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) project “Flavour & Fragrance”, helped to establish her dreams, thereby recognizing skills.
“I got the scheme from the Star-up Manipur in 2018-19. I was selected in the Idea Stage and got a loan of rupees 1.5 Lakhs. I started my cottage industry with the amount where I worked extracting fiber from lotus stem which otherwise is a waste product. In 2018, initially, I was alone, and then gradually involved my family and relatives in the trade. In 2020 it received rupees 3 Lakhs as a grant from the Chief Minister with which I employed 30 other women and imparted training to them in the intricate art of making fiber from lotus stem and upgraded my small industry” – asserted Bijiyashanti Tongbram.
According to News18 report, by January 2020, Bijiyashanti have trained around 40 citizens, from them, almost 20 residents continued to wave this thread.
Meanwhile, 7 of them work from homes and the others have their own equipment to extract the thread.
Bijiyashanti purchase these fiber from such workers and stitch neckties, scarves, thereby planning to make face masks.
She further added of weaving garments through a traditional bamboo-based loom. This lotus fabric is very expensive, thereby sold for rupees 150 per gram.
Recently, PM Modi lauded the initiative undertaken by MSME. According to the Government of India’s analysis of Udyam Registration Data, Manipur now joins the highest ranking North Eastern states in registration of MSMEs and employment generation.