Nakshi kantha a boon for poor women

28 February, 2021 12:00 AM printer

RAJSHAHI: A new potential life of Shahnaz Khatun has begum after being involved in making Nakshi Kantha, a type of embroidered quilt, within the last couple of years.

Currently, she’s making kantha in digital method after the best uses of modern technology quickly transformed herself into a latent entrepreneur. Khatun, a resident of Jogipara village under Bagatipara Upazila in Natore district, has started the kantha making venture with a capital of Taka 1,700 in 2019.

First of all, she became inspired after seeing the embroidered kantha making process in a block boutique shop at RDA Market in Rajshahi. Since then she has been doing the work in their dwelling house successfully, reports BSS.

At present, she gets orders in her house and earns profit worth around Taka 5,000 to 7,000 per month after selling her finished product. “I need around one week for finishing the sewing and designing works of a kantha,” Khatun said. She added that her venture has created employment scopes for many women in her locality.

Like Khatun’s venture, nakshi kantha has been godsend to many rural poor women here as they are sewing their new day’s dream by beating long time poverty through stitching the country’s traditional kantha commercially.

For generations, women artisans have been sewing Nakshi Kantha. More than just needlework, it has become the emotions, memories and dreams of the artisan. Once it was made only for family use, but now it helps flourish the cottage industry in the district that is transforming housewives into entrepreneurs.

“I employ around 250 women in my industry,” says Dinesh Hasda, from Kakonhat under Godagari Upazila, who established his business entity named ‘Adivasi Santa kantha’ as an entrepreneur in 2013. “I supply fabrics and yarns, and the women artisans are paid between Tk 1,600 and Tk 1,700 for sewing Nakshi Kantha each depending on the size,” he said.

He said his business house produces as many as 1000 Nakshi Kantha per month as he himself designs kanthas and supplies them to his workers for sewing.

“Our finished products are now being exported to around 17 overseas countries through a non-government development organisation, Prokritee Bangladesh, in Dhaka,” Dinesh Hashda said.

He said that the business volume is now on a rising trend significantly and on an average, Nakshi Kanthas are being sold by around Taka 25 lakh yearly whereas his initial investment was Taka one lakh. “In this area, people are known for their Nakshi Kantha skills,” remarks Sheuly Basko, 38, a housewife and Nakshi Kantha artisan from Sorsonipara village in Godagari upazila.

“From our rich artistic heritage we can earn handsomely,” she said. “I was inspired to sew Nakshi kantha by other women in my area,” says Monwara Begum, 43, from the same area. She doesn’t only sew herself but also coordinates the efforts of several others. “I make up to Tk 3,800 per month,” she said.

“A Nakshi Kantha takes between one and two weeks to make, depending on the design,” says Adiba Khatun, 35, from Kakonhat area, who has been involved in the industry for around seven years. Her husband works as a hotel employee. The income she earns is proving invaluable in covering the education costs of their three children.