Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Handmade Paper courses give women a leg up


PUNE: The constant demand for files, books, registers and paper bags has prompted city-based Handmade Paper Institute of the Maharashtra Khadi and Village Industries Department to encourage women to become entrepreneurs after signing up for short-term conversion courses.

The institute holds a two-week long conversion course wherein the participants are taught how to make utility items from paper. "We are trying to encourage women, especially middle-aged women, to take up the course. After the children grow up, most homemakers have plenty of spare time that they can use productively. They can learn to make files, paper bags and other such items as well as engage in manufacturing of the same. Starting their own business will also make them more independent and self-sufficient," said Sanjeev Naik, junior lecturer at the institute.

After completion of the course, women can set up small businesses. "There are multiple government schemes available for women entrepreneurs that can be availed while setting up the business. Subsidies are also available for purchase of raw material. The institute will help the women, if required," Naik stated.

According to Naik, files and paper bags are witnessing great demand in the market. "A number of grocery stores, medical stores, and others, are now using paper bags instead of plastic bags. Likewise, any government or private organization requires numerous files. Since these items are in demand, women can exploit the opportunity this sector offers," he explained.

Although the institute has been running the short-term conversion courses at a minimal fee of Rs 1500 since 2010, the turnout has been low. "A large section of Puneites do not know that this institute exists in Pune neither do they know about the courses offered and the opportunities that exist. We are now focusing on publicizing our courses so that more women can be empowered," Naik stated.

Information about the courses has been displayed at the offices of all district village industry officers."Pamphlets have also been delivered to all these offices so that they can be distributed to the public to create awareness. Details about the courses and application forms have been put up on the department's website and the Khadi Commission's website. We are hoping for a greater response," he shared.


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