Nakshi kantha, a type of embroidered quilt,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, the women artisans are 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 ‘Adibashi Santa kantha’ as an entrepreneur in 2013.
“I supply fabrics and yarns, and the women artisans are paid between Tk1,600 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 permonth as he himself designs kanthas and supplies them to his workers for sewing.
“Our finished products are now being exported to around 17 overseascountries through a non-government development organization, Prokrity Bangladesh, in Dhaka,” Dinesh Hashda said.
He told BSS that the business volume is now on 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.
Under the jurisdiction of Rajshahi Divisional Ethnic Minority CulturalAcademy, a three-day ‘ethnic minority handicrafts and cultural fair’ has been organized in last two consecutive years in the city where the finished Nakshi Kantha were showcased and projected as massive response from the buyers has been got.
In the fair, the producers got orders of around 25,000 US Dollars, said Md Salahuddin, Deputy Director of the academy.
“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.