Mata Vaishno Devi is amongst the most revered Hindu pilgrimage sites in India. Nestled in the Trikuta Hills in Jammu, the cave temple of Goddess Vaishno Devi, who is the manifestation of Goddess Parvati or Shakti is the said to be the abode of 33 Hindu gods. An all season pilgrimage, Vaishno Devi is thronged by more than 10 million pilgrims every year. The devotees are served Prasad in jute bags by the Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board. The Shrine Board requires these jute bags in lakhs every month.
Manufacture of jute bags for distributing Prasad by members belonging to Sarla, Pooja, Kranti, Anand, Abhilasha SHG of Village Katli and Karandi on the Indo- Pak border in block and District Samba, Jammu.
The women in these villages had very limited resources and opportunity to supplement their family income. The Vaishno Devi temple receives thousands of devotees every day. Therefore, NABARD sensed a scope for supply of jute bags for the devotees who throng in hordes. 60 women members of 20 Self Help Groups in district Samba were trained under Livelihood Enterprise Development Programme (LEDP) of NABARD with a grant assistance of Rs.3.18 lakh to manufacture the prasad bags and supply the same to the Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board. Inputs on publicity and packaging of jute products, record keeping, pricing and marketing were also imparted. The Project based approach took care of the complete value chain from training to procurement of raw materials and marketing thus offering end to end solutions to the SHG members. 49 members have availed loan ranging from ₹ 0.25 – 0.50 lakh by Corporation Bank, Branch Samba.
A marketing tie up with Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board for supply of 5000 jut bags every month has led to employment generation at local level and the beneficiaries are earning ₹ 200 to ₹ 250 per day . There are talks to raise the number of bags from 5000 to 10000. Today, with the grace of the goddess these women have a source of livelihood and pride.
Source : Creating Livelihoods, Changing Lives