From pickles to clothes to bags, an exhibition-cum-sale of items made by self-help groups from across the region kick-started at Kanti Church, Jeppu, on Saturday.

Sweets, jewellery, bangles, paper bags, hand-stitched clothes, herbal remedies, juices, among other items, were on display at the exhibition organised by the Karnataka State Women’s Development Corporation and Department of Woman and Child Development.

One such exhibitor was Shamala Shenoy, from Kankanady. Marketing traditional recipes for pickles, squashes and ready-to-fry food she learnt from her mother, Ms. Shenoy has for the last 30 years taken her products to exhibitions across the State and even to national fairs in Delhi.

“Decades ago, my mother would give pickles and squashes, that she made in massive quantities, to our neighbours and friends. I started to sell these at exhibitions and later learnt how to package these products myself,” she said.

Similarly, Jyothi Gokhale, who displayed homemade bags, came from Karkala taluk for the event.

For the past seven years, she and her sister-in-law have made, on an average, 2,000 bags annually. “Seven years ago, we learnt from a lady who taught us tailoring. Since then, the two of us have been producing these bags, making at least five in a day, and marketing them ourselves. After having been to many exhibitions, we have seen the demand for it increasing,” she said.

The bags start at Rs. 150, and Ms. Gokhale assures that their bags can last more than two years without the zip wearing off.

Training

For some like Meena and her mother Shakuntala from Thokottu, their SHG benefited immensely from the training imparted through government schemes.

Inaugurating the exhibition at Kanti Church here on Saturday, N. Yogish Bhat, Deputy Speaker of the Legislative Assembly, said merely training SHGs to manufacture was not enough, they also needed to be given enough avenues for marketing. “It is only when the groups get money in return, will the circle be complete,” he said.

He also urged the Corporation to train SHGs in processing agricultural produce and plastic. The fair will be on till October 24 between 10 a.m. and 8.30 p.m. at the Kanti Church, near Mangaladevi Temple.

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