Raipur Women Make 2 Lakh Green Diyas #WATWB
As festive season is being celebrated all over India, the women of Ban-Charauda in Raipur, Chattisgarh are extremely busy—applying another coat of paint or drawing beautiful motifs on the diyas (small lamps) that they make from cow dung. This Diwali, the women self-help groups (SHG) of Ban-Charauda are making over 2 lakh green diyas made up of cow dung to help India celebrate a cleaner and greener Diwali.
Made out of cow dung, dried and powdered herbs and tamarind seed paste – the cow dung diyas are 100 per cent eco-friendly and can last a long time. Even if they are discarded after the festivities, they will decompose in a jiffy, leaving no residue.
Gothaan, which literally translates as a cattle shed, is a programme introduced across 1905 villages of Chattisgarh in 2019, aimed to empower the livelihood of rural women through cattle rearing and procuring dairy, as well as repurposing cow dung into eco-friendly daily-use items.
In early 2019, when Ban-Charauda village was enlisted in the Gothan project, the basic idea was to involve the village women in producing vermicompost and organic manure from cow dung. Little did the authorities know that the women would invest their creativity and launch a range of innovative organic products like idols of gods and goddesses, flower pots, candle stands, mobile phone stands and even keychains… all made from cow dung.
The process of making these green diyas is quite interesting. First, the cow dung is dried and powdered in a machine, following which compostable adhesives like tamarind seed paste is added for binding. Then, dried herbs are added for fragrance and preservation, the dough is kneaded and placed into diya-shaped moulds. Once dried, the diyas are painted with all-natural colours and ornate motifs.
Priced between Rs 2 to Rs 10 per piece depending on their size and decorative intricacy, these cow dung diyas have already landed advance orders in bulk from cities all over India. Needless to say, the women artisans are working day and night on a war footing to keep up with the market demand. Around 4,000-5,000 diyas are being produced each day at Ban-Charauda SHGs.
Gothan is managed by an all-women group. Their daily tasks are hardly a cakewalk. From tending to a huge horde of cattle to ensuring their food, water and even medicines – the women in-charge of the Gothaan have a lot on their plates. Yet, they manage to take some time out and collect all the cow dung, which are later sold and repurposed by several other SHGs.
As more and more individuals are inching towards a greener Diwali, the cow dung diyas can truly be a perfect item for them this festive season.
This post is part of the We Are the World Blogfest, a monthly blogging event created by Damyanti Biswas and Belinda Witzenhausen to showcase stories of hope and light. This month, I’m helping out as a co-host, along with extraordinary bloggers : Lizbeth Hartz, Sylvia McGrath, Mary J Giese and Belinda Witzenhausen. Please hop over to check out their WATWB posts as well as from other WATWB participants for a dose of feel-good to last you a whole month. You’ll be happy you did!
October 25, 2019 5:29 pm|
Hooray for an innovative use of poop! Thanks for this post, Shilpa.
October 25, 2019 5:30 pm|
Amazing Shilpa! Thank you! They’re so pretty while being functional and bring in the Rs! Give a busy woman something to do and she’ll do it. Happy Diwali to you and family and thank you for cohosting this month!
October 26, 2019 7:28 pm|
Hi Shilpa – what a magnificent idea … well both are – the Gothaan for helping these women, then the women making the diyas and creating wonderful small items for sale – they look so bright and cheerful … the ladies and their products. I’ve read of elephant dung paper … and obviously centuries ago here we used dung to ‘glue’ together sticks and plaster to line walls. Fantastic – and what an advertisement for environmental use … an excellent #WATWB post … cheers Hilary
October 26, 2019 9:43 pm|
Wow! Now that is amazing!
Wish you a happy and Safe Diwali!
October 27, 2019 1:03 pm|
What a resourceful way to re-purpose cow dung, create something beautiful, and give the women a way to become entrepreneurs! Talk about thinking outside the box! Thanks for sharing this inspiring story.
October 28, 2019 12:26 am|
Hi Shilpa, what an interesting post and a fantastic way to use cow poo. Caz x
October 28, 2019 3:19 am|
Hi Shilpa – what a great idea … well both are – the Gothaan for helping these women, then the women making the diyas and creating wonderful small items for sale – they look so bright and cheerful … the ladies and their products. Thank you for sharing.
Wish you a happy and Safe Diwali!
October 29, 2019 2:31 am|
I’ve never seen anything like this, wow they’re great! Thanks so much for sharing this and for being a part of #WATWB! Hope you and your family have a Happy Diwali! 🙂
October 29, 2019 6:38 am|
This is kind or re-purposing is one of the directions we need to move in (or move back to) as a species. It seems I’ve read about animal dung being used to make houses in the past. Thanks for sharing this!
October 29, 2019 11:39 am|
What a wonderful initiative! and so innovative too! I love how creative women can get with the resources available to them. And they are creating such beautiful pieces. Thanks for sharing!
October 30, 2019 11:55 am|
If there’s one thing I can’t stand about Diwali it is the firecrackers. Pollution, waste of money and a nightmare for those with respiratory issues and the poor animals who become terrified. Kudos to these women for inching towards a greener and more beautiful Diwali. Festivals should be happy and healthy and it is wonderful that they are focused on that!
October 30, 2019 7:26 pm|
Wow that is an Eco-friendly and great initiative. What a way to re-utilise manure. I had read about elephant poop paper long back and this thing adds to how people can be creative and looking for sustainable living sources. Thanks for sharing this, had i read it earlier would have certainly tried to get them for my Diwali. Kudos to Gothaan.
October 31, 2019 10:27 pm|
Beautiful and interesting idea.
October 31, 2020 2:59 pm|
HI I want this diyas please contact me on below mentioned mail