A start-up from Kalimpong, West Bengal has been trying to stop migration by offering livelihood to locals for making attractive handicraft items from bamboo. Want to know more? Continue reading… …
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Stop migration from Kalimpong
An electronics and communications engineer, Mr Lepcha (he prefers to call him so) has done MBA from FMS College in Delhi and had launched his venture MayelCrafts in 2018.
He says more than 50,000 people migrate from Kalimpong and Darjeeling in search of jobs and better career and 80 percent of migration is from rural pockets.
Lepcha told Chalgenius the first motive was to stop the migration because he feels there are many negative sides of it like eroding family values, people being cheated among plethora of other reasons.
“My concept was to stop migration for jobs,” he says.
He states that the whole world has been shifting towards eco-friendly products and the entire Himalayan belt is rich in natural resources and bamboo is one of them. There are over 25 species of bamboo in the Himalayan belt and Mr Lepcha wanted to start bamboo products manufacturing in villages to stop migration and start sustainability and economic model in the villages.
He first adopted a village and created a small artisan group and provided them machines for making bamboo products.
The fact that the tourists do not have much to take from Darjeeling like souvenirs, created an opportunity for MayelCrafts to focus on manufacturing something local.
MayelCrafts churning out attractive items from bamboo
MayelCrafts slowly got into making bamboo straws, pens, containers, speakers among many other things. It started supplying products to nine cities in India and five countries.
“Around one crore tourists visit Kalimpong and Darjeeling region annually and they do not have much things to take away from this place,” he says.
The company has adopted five villages so far. Mr Lepcha told Chalgenius that he has created MayelCrafts centers in villages and provide villagers technology, training and knowledge transfer and also give them demand.
All the skilled village people come to this centre and work for MayelCrafts and get paid for each product they make, he told ChalGenius. We give them demand and volumes; it is the same model that happens in every village, Mr Lepcha adds.
Covid-19 did not have impact on MayelCrafts’ business. In fact the company saw demand of products going up. People are boycotting Chinese products are now preferring home grown products which has attributed to our sales, he says.
“Because of lockdown restrictions we allowed villagers to make products at their house but their finishing was not good. Because of this, the staff at the centres has to give finishing touch to products before going for sale,” he remarks.
He says over 65 people have been influenced (employed) in these villages because of MayelCrafts initiatives.
“ We want to create a sustainable model for the economic development in villages around Kalimpong and Darjeeling.”
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Keywords: Mayelcrafts, Kalimpong, Chalgenius, bamboo
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