Diwali sparks prosperity for a group of women candle-makers in Agartala
First Published: 9th November, 2023 17:43 IST
15 women are crafting between one to one-and-a-half quintals of candles daily. In the Diwali season the demand has gone up and they are earning more too
In the heart of Tripura’s capital, Agartala, a group of enterprising women have found empowerment and financial independence by establishing a small-scale candle-making enterprise. This initiative began in a modest room, with a handful of women who had undergone candle-making training.
Driven by the desire for engagement, income, and self-reliance, these young women have transformed their dreams into reality. Fifteen women working on a regular basis crafting between one to one-and-a-half quintals of candles daily but their numbers increased during festival season.
The impact has been substantial, as these women are no longer solely reliant on their husbands’ earnings. They are now able to contribute to their households, support their children’s education, and even pay off loans.
The brainchild behind this candle manufacturing endeavour is Sudhan Banerjee, who initiated it in the Joynagar area over 30 years ago, employing local women as workers.
Despite the proliferation of Chinese lights in the market, the demand for candles continues to rise each year. This Diwali season is no exception, as they are experiencing robust business, necessitating two work shifts to keep up with the demand.
These women received their candle-making training elsewhere and have now brought their expertise to this unit. The income they generate plays a vital role in ensuring the smooth running of their families and supplements their husbands’ earnings.
Purnima Deb, a long-time employee, mentioned that their workload increases during the festive season, resulting in higher income. The extra earnings are invaluable for these women who manage household responsibilities alongside their work, making them essential contributors to their families.
Khuku Rani Das, another worker, pointed out that during the festive season, especially Diwali, the demand for candles skyrockets. They labour day and night to meet the soaring demand, given the numerous puja ceremonies that require candles.
In addition to regular white candles, they also craft decorative coloured candles in various sizes, specifically for the festive season, further boosting their income by Rs 5,000 to Rs 6,000.
Initially, these women sold their candles primarily in the neighbouring houses. However, due to the burgeoning demand, they expanded by providing training to more women and selling their products in local markets. Currently, around 20 to 25 women are consistently employed in the unit, along with two others overseeing marketing efforts.
At present, in addition to the local Agartala market, their candles are in demand outside the capital city. The unit’s employees believe that candles make fantastic gifts for all occasions, particularly during festival seasons. They hope that their manufacturing and distribution enterprise will serve as a model for promoting employment in the city, benefiting more women in the future.
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