Madhumita Shaw is the owner of the handicrafts business Pipal Tree. She overcame the struggles in her married life and found her freedom to help other tribal women in Jharkhand to find theirs.
Madhumita Shaw had got married in 2012, to be thrown out of her marital home a year later. The reason has been the fact that she had refused dowry. Madhumita decided to end the marriage, and it was for the right reasons. Today, Madhumita has slowly and steadily rebuilt her life. And it’s not just her that is thriving as a result — hundreds of tribal women across Jharkhand are also financially empowered and independent thanks to this entrepreneur’s vision. She is doing all this and more through her organisation Peepal Tree.
After her marriage ended Madumita was in a depressed state. However, an opportunity came knocking around 2014, when she visited Jamshedpur and saw some people selling keyrings made from wood on the roadside. “The product interested me, and I kept thinking about its commercial prospects. I thought of experimenting and turning it into a business for myself,” says Madhumita, who holds a diploma in retail management.
She reached out to artisans she knew in her village and convinced them to teach her the art of carving keyrings from wood. By 2015, she convinced three tribal women to make handicrafts. A year later, in 2016, Madhumita launched Pipal Tree, a social enterprise that works on empowering women from tribal communities via financial independence.
“Initially, we sold keyrings, but then researched more products and decided to extend the varieties. We developed wooden trays, pen stands, and more, and presented them at exhibitions. We also sold them door-to-door and received an impressive response,” she says. Later, the women found a small space in front of a furniture shop. “The owner was kind enough to share her space for our business. The shop was in a prime location, and again our products received significant demand. We continued to progress,” she says.
Since then, the social enterprise has trained over 200 women, each earning an average of Rs 15,000 a month. The venture offers over 200 handicraft items, including coasters, nameplates, house decor items and others, earning revenue worth Rs 60 lakh per year.
“I want the business to expand further and empower as many tribal women as possible to pull them out of poverty and social barriers,” Saya Madumita.
Credits: The Better India
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