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Indian Institute of Entrepreneurship

An Organisation of the Ministry Of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises(MSME),
Govt.of India
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Changing Lives

Bogulamari Jute Cluster

Saheba Khatun

Saheba Khatun belongs to a very poor family. The picture of her poverty ridden family was always in her mind and she was constantly on a lookout for an opportunity to increase the family income through better livelihood option. Although she and her sister could not continue their studies due to lack of funds yet she was determined to get her brother educated. She was in dire need of a helping hand and it was then that she heard about a Jute Craft Training to be organized in their locality. It raised new hopes for her and she believed that getting trained in making jute products, which was until then only a hobby, would help in transforming her life. She eagerly participated in the training programmes but she realized that the important element of providing handholding support was not incorporated in any of those training programmes. Thus, inspite of being trained, Saheba was not able to earn her livelihood.

In 2009, IIE launched the cluster development programme in her village. For Saheba, the cluster development programme was the solution to her and Mayuri SHG with which she was associated. Her group got a loan from Assam Grameen Vikash Bank under DRDA. The first loan was of Rs. 10,000 with no subsidy and the second and third loan was of Rs. 25,000 with a subsidy of Rs 10,000 and Rs 2 lakh with a subsidy of Rs 1 lakh respectively. With the loan she bought a jute stitching machine. Her first exposure to the direct market was through participation in trade fairs and exhibitions and she was able to generate her first few orders for jute products. Right from the first day she worked hard to complete her orders on time and her timely and quality product delivery to customers earned her next orders and her business started rolling. Now Saheba is engaged full time in her jute handicraft business making different products as per consumers' requirement. Her sister in law is also helping her out in these activities. To run the jute activities smoothly she has also availed a micro credit assistance of Rs 10,000 from Bandhan, an MFI. Saheba is now earning around Rs 7000 per month from this business. She is working hard to earn more so that she can take the responsibility of her younger brother. Ms. Shahiba's story once again underscores that to be successful in life one need not be born with a silver spoon in mouth. All one requires is hardwork and a strong determination.
At present she is working with the Indian Institute of Entrepreneurship as Head (Centre for Industrial Extension)

Nur Banu Begum

When we talk about Bogulamari Jute Cluster, Ms. Nur Banu Begum is one of the most important person in this cluster. Born in 1964, Nur Banu is the fifth child of Late Japu Sk.

Nur Banu Begum belongs to a family where everyone is engaged in a job. Since she had completed her Higher Secondary, Nur Banu also opted for a job, but she always wanted to do something on her own. She did her research on various self employment options available within Dhubri and the jute related projects caught her interest. She actively participated in different jute related training programmes and afterwards took part in different fairs with her own jute products. She was overwhelmed by the response towards ecofriendly jute products. She learnt that many people as well as the big business houses are now opting for eco-friendly products for their daily use. The light weight user friendly jute products are largely in demand. She also discovered that there existed scope for using jute as mixed media for items like cushion covers, fabrics for fashion clothing. She realized that as an artisan, one would have to keep in mind the target customer for whom the items are made. Traditional items have a separate market and jute diversified items are finding its way to a different high end customer segment. She shared these experiences with everyone in the cluster so as to motivate them towards making jute products and becoming self dependent through this activity. Nur Banu has participated in different exhibitions in places like Chennai, Bangalore, Mumbai and Guwahati and now she is a role model for the educated unemployed youth of the locality. With her own efforts she is now an empaneled designer/master trainer of National Jute Board (NJB). Besides making traditional jute items, she is also involved in jute bag stitching, creating jute products blended with other things like water hyacinth, sitalpati etc. Understanding the scope of value added and diversified products, Nur Banu feels that there is a great need for organizing skill development programmes on Jute carpet weaving etc.

In the year 2009, she got in touch with IIE when it started the intervention process on cluster development. In the intervention process she could learn various diversified designs and new techniques of jute crafts and it was a great exposure for her.

Nur Banu, along with many artisans, today is confident that there is a market for varied jute products but they will have to stick to making quality products. As contribution to family income is not a necessity for her, she wants to help out the unemployed girls to be self independent with the jute related activities. In the year 1997, for the first time she had applied for a loan under PMRYscheme of DICC and got a loan of Rs. 1 lakh from United Bank, Dhubri Branch. That loan was really a great help to her as she had invested the amount in development of Jute products. She is also a part of a SHG named Surya SHG involving ten members. Her group also availed loan for two times from Assam Gramin Bikash Bank, Dhubri. First time the loan amount was Rs. 25,000 with a subsidy of Rs. 10,000 and second time the loan amount was Rs. 2,00,000 with a subsidy of Rs. 1,00,000. Her hard work and dedication has helped her to earn a monthly income of around Rs. 10,000 to 12,000. She also received various orders from different buyers specially for hats and file covers.

Her ideas and plans are very clear in her mind and Ms. Nur Banu owes this clarity to various exposures that she received through training programmes. The cluster intervention process also greatly helped her to focus on her path of commercialised jute craft. She believes that only absolute involvement and involvement and commitment could help her achieving the best.

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Rashida Begum

Rashida Begum belongs to an economically deprived family. Her marriage brought to her only untold sufferings. It was seven long years of troubled marriage since her husband was addicted to drugs which cost him his life in the year 2007. After that she began to live with her family but later got remarried to a person who has been a strong pillar of support for her. When she was at her parents place she kept herself engrossed only in household chores. But her family members were constantly trying to divert her attention towards some other work so that she could forget her past. Rashida, however, was least interested in anything they suggested. Her elder sister insisted that she should start making jute products which was her hobby before her marriage. Pre-marriage she used to make table mats, sika, dolls etc from jute. Her sister was an active member of one of the SHGs that was actively participating in all the cluster development activities initiated in the Bogulamari Jute Craft Cluster. Rashida was forced by her sister to participate as a member of their SHG. She participated in the Entrepreneurship and Skill Development Programme on diversified jute products and stitching and gradually she began to develop an interest in all the new aspects related to jute that she could learn in the training programme. Besides making jewelleries from Jute she also learnt to make products like flower vase, cushion covers etc using mixed media. She used to practice at her home whatever she learnt in the training programme and made each of the items for use at her home. Her interest and skills caught the attention of the master trainer of the ESDP and he engaged her in all the ESDPs as an assistant master trainer. Moreover, her products got good response in the markets. Now, whenever any order comes to the cluster, Rashida comes forward to take it up immediately. On an average she is earning around Rs 7000/- per month from jute related activities. Besides, whenever any ESDP is organized in the cluster, she is called as an assistant trainer. Now Rashida does not lament over whatever had happened to her in the past and is confident that she would be able to make a meaningful living out of these jute craft related activities. She has purchased a stitching machine when she got handholding support from DRDA. Now she is confident enough and has started getting large orders of jute bags from other states too.

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