The inhabitants of the village of Ambatoli in Jharkhand are mainly small farmers. Despite heavy rains in the monsoons, the land is largely undevelopable and the villagers had to look for parallel sources of income.
Jublina Kandulna founded a small tailor shop to supplement the money her family earned from their land to make ends meet.
Soon her small tailoring business was the main source of income for the family of six, consisting of Jublina, her husband, their two children and their in-laws.
âMy husband and I used to work in the fields, but our land is too small to support the family. That’s why I started taking tailor jobs, âsays 45-year-old Jublina full responsibility for the family rested on her and her husband Vimal.
Jublina Kandulna (center) or Mask Didi, as she is known, is honored on International Women’s Day for strengthening rural women
She says the tailoring business alone would generate an income of 9,000 rupees a month.
âThings were going very well until the COVID-19 outbreak and orders started to dry up. It was a very tough time during the lockdown. I had to Close my shop completely, âshe says.
Jublina decided to take part in a training course from the Torpa Rural Development Society for Women (TRDSW) on the subject of micro-entrepreneurship. She says the training helped her see an opportunity when the government enforced rules on wearing masks.
âThe government has told us that the use of masks is essential to protect yourself from COVID-19. I realized that masks were not easily available in our remote village, âshe says, adding that the training team had encouraged her to Start sewing masks right away.
Jublina first started sewing masks from the scraps of clothing she had made earlier. However, people didn’t buy these masks because they didn’t believe the virus was a threat.
âThe TRDSW team carried out awareness campaigns in the village and taluk Level. They told the villagers that the government wanted everyone to wear a mask to protect against COVID-19, âsays Jublina.
âI started sewing only 20 reusable fabric masks. They were sold out in Ambatoli village for 20 rupees each and I made 400 rupees from them, âshe adds.
And as the news got around, more and more people started ordering masks. âSoon I was sewing 50 to 100 reusable fabric masks a day and selling them not only in Ambatoli, but also in surrounding villages. People started calling me “Mask Didi”.
My husband started helping me and we are now selling masks in 30 villages from Dimbukel to Baghiya. In the heat and rain, we walk and bike to sell them, âshe says.
The Terrain can also be challenging as the area lacks proper roads, is hilly and consists mostly of forests. However, the couple’s persistence has paid off and they are now earning Rs 20,000 a month. Jublina also distributes free masks to children, widows and the elderly. Because of her success, she has now decided to empower other women in the community and has started coaching courses on tailoring trousers, sleepwear, etc.
she is also Implementation of micro-entrepreneurship programs for women want financial independence and get the. have connected Noble Baha SHG.
In fact, she has diversified her source of income by joining the SHG savings and loan system and also completing an apprenticeship in leaf plate making.
âI want to avoid financial problems in the future. I also started a tailoring center in Koytoli to help others achieve the same, âshe says.