The Bold Voice of J&K

First-of-its-kind ‘Saras Aajeevika Mela’ concludes at Srinagar

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SHAKEELA ANDRABI

SRINAGAR: The second edition of Saras Aajeevika Mela concluded in Srinagar, which featured products manufactured by over 300 rural craftswomen associated with Self Help Groups of day NRLM, marking it as the first-of-its-kind 11-day women-led Fair in Srinagar. The Mela was meant for women empowerment in Jammu and Kashmir as at present unemployment is emerging as a major challenge for young educated girl. But now defeating many odds, the girls have not only stood against the critics, but also managed to break the stereotypes in the valley by preferring the ‘male-dominated’ jobs, receiving appreciations from every nook and corner.
The girls from Ganderbal District served ‘Wazwaan’ to people on special occasion. Preparing of world famous dish is earlier only male-dominated job “It was some-thing new for people. We were criticized and faced many odds,” said Shaista. These girls got appreciation during 11-days SARAS Mela. At the food court, other traditional delicacies and street favourites were also served. There were Vada Pav from Maharashtra, Momos from Sikkim, and the most liked Shahi Kheer from Uttar Pradesh. “It was all with the support of NRML’s Umeed that we achieved our goals and became an example for the society,” girls said.
Beside this, the Mela hosted artisans from all over the country and offered a wide variety of the finest handicraft and handloom products from the remotest areas of rural India to the visitors. The Mela, which began at the banks of Dal Lake on March 15, offering a myriad collection of handmade products and cuisines from across the country to visitors. More than 170 women artisans from different parts of rural India participated and showcased their products on 70 stalls provided by JKRLM for exhibition and sale. Women from self-help groups from 17 states/UTs displayed handicrafts, handloom, and natural food items from different rural areas in the vibrant stalls handled and managed by Women SHG members. Some of the eminent items of handicraft displayed at the stalls were handmade cloth from Jammu-Kashmir with Sozni and Aariwork, antique coin jewellery from Maharashtra, organic soaps, and herbal cleaning agents from Sikkim, Phulkari suits from Punjab, Chikankari kurtis from Uttar Pradesh, handmade jewellery from Himachal, handloom from Bihar, and many more.
Addressing the valedictory function Additional Mission Director Jammu Kashmir Rural Livelihoods Mission (JKRLM) said, “Organizing Saras Ajeevika Mela is a remarkable feat achieved by JKRLM as being the host of a huge event where in participation of SHG members from 17 States/ UTs was made possible”. He thanked all line departments for their contribution to making the Mela a success.

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