Sales and the self help groups -Archit Mehta,THE HINDU

The DWCRA Bazaar offers an opportunity to learn how handicrafts often survive because of hard work by clusters of women and your patronage

From Kashmiri shawls to Kerala saris and everything in between, the 12-day Saras Development of Women and Children in Rural Areas (DWCRA) Bazaar has something for everyone. Each year since 2014, the exhibition hosts hundreds of merchants and self-help groups (SHG) members to promote their products. This year it has over 360 stalls from 20 States. The fair is organised by the Society for the Elimination of Rural Poverty (SERP), Andhra Pradesh Department of Rural Development. U Jagen Mohan Roa, administrative assistant, SERP, says, “This year we’ve added 60 stalls and a food court. The footfall is around 20,000 to 30,000 people per day. This year we expect to cross over five crores rupees.”

The standouts this year are the edibles. There are homemade pickles and snacks. And there is Gulzar Ahmed from Kashmir who will refresh you with his brew. “Yesterday, I sold more than 600 cups of kahwa (Kashmiri tea),” he smiles. M Madhavi a visitor to the fair stocked up on millets that were a bargain, she says. “I purchased millets here at ₹100 per kilogram while at supermarkets I would have to spend ₹150.”

Art and patronage

The fair is also an opportunity to watch art being created. Ritu Shyam, 25, head bent paints patiently. She makes them on canvas or handmade paper she explains. She is a Gond artist and a member of Kodi Chitrakala SHG in Patangarh, a village with some 200 odd families. “Almost everyone in our village knows this art. But if the market size shrinks, so will the number of artists.” She says, It takes about a day to make one A3 size painting. In the last 10 days Ritu has sold around a dozen paintings. She says the response to her art has been better in bigger cities. Kids will love the exhibition as there are fun noisy toys such as bird-call whistles to xylophones and mini drums. One such stall is of Nellore’s Udayagiri Wooden Cutlery that also makes colourful wooden toys along with its artistic cutlery. The colours used are made of vegetable dyes so child-friendly. They are made by the 120-member Uttam Mahila Hastha Kala Sirshakuralu in Udayagiri. Wooden combs are also a big draw says Zakir Hussain, who is responsible for market linkages. “Each item is made in sets of 50.” There is a giant wheel that completes the treat for the kids as are cultural dance and song performances by city’s children.

But more needs to be done feels Nandini Neemkar from Hyderabad. She sells dupattas and salwars made by Renuka, an SHG from Anjar near Kutch, Gujarat. Majority of the stalls in the fair are set up by middle men. As a result, SHGs fails to get the the full market value on their products. She adds,“Rarely do you find the SHG representatives in such exhibitions. Sometimes I wonder if these events really help the ones who really need it.”

Venue Andhra University College of Engineering Grounds

Date January 3, 10 am to 10 pm

Leave A Comment