There are very few people in this world who prefer to opt out of the rat race and give in to their inner creativity. Magdali Ekka, who runs a weaving centre called Teena Deepjyoti, is one among them. Taking inspiration from her elder sister, Ekka imparts weaving training among rural women to help them become self-reliant. ‘We impart weaving training to 20 women at one time. We give it free-of-cost to those who can’t afford it. Our aim is to make women of our adjacent villages financially independent,’ says Magdali Ekka.
Since 2003, Ekka has been running her weaving centre at Timona village in Dibrugarh district. ‘Initially we used to make dolls, bags, scarves, etc. on a smaller scale. Once our products got due recognition, we designed a calendar showcasing our products. Seeing our quality products, the government came forward to help us,’ says Ekka, her eyes shining with pride.
Now, they provide hostel facility for those women who come from far-flung areas. The exclusive products of the weaving centre have been exhibited at many places in Assam. Some artisans from Jharkhand had also come down to her place to learn from her skill of weaving. But Ekkamodestly says, ‘I took two-month government training in the year 2006. And after the successful completion of my training, the government offered us a loan of Rs 2 lakh. Thus, they financially helped us in constructing our weaving centre’s building’.
Earlier,the City Foundation recognised the talent of MagdaliEkka’s elder sister and rewarded her with the best Micro Entrepreneur Award. The award citation, proudly displayed at the weaving centre reads, ‘Augustine had to drop out of school at the age of nine because her parents could not afford it anymore. But she was determined not to tread the beaten path. With neither capital nor experience, Augustine through sheer determination overcame poverty, adversity to become the role model for her village’.
Carrying forward the legacy of her elder sister, Magdali has been dreaming big now, a reflection seen aptly in her work. In peak season, she earns over Rs 25,000 per month. And as she is debt-free now, Magdali wants to expand her business. ‘We are so popular here that we don’t need to go outside to sell our products. During Bihu, we are usually flooded with orders,’ says Ekka with a smile.
Demographic pattern: Dibrugarh District
Total population: 1,32,7748
Rural: 10,83,984 (81.36%)
Urban: 2,43,764 (18.36%)
Male : 6,80,114 (51.22%)
Female: 6,47,634 (40.78%)