By Our Correspondent Kawasoti, Sept. 16: Making leaf plates has been a source of income for the women in Basantapur, an area in Ward No. 9 of Madhyabindu Municipality in eastern-Nawalparasi. After completing the daily household chores, the women start making leaf plates during their free time as they sit with thin bamboo spikes and leaves of Sal trees. "I earn around Rs. 7,000 to Rs. 8,000 per month by selling the leaf plates and it has also supported my family economically to some extent. It is good to utilise the free time," said Deu Maya Dhenga Magar, a local who makes around 100 leaf plates daily.
According to Magar, the amount earned by selling the leaf plates has helped meet her basic needs and save the earnings of her husband abroad. Like Magar, Bhumikala Ale also spends her free time during morning, evening and night by making leaf plates. "Making leaf plates is better than talking about others or overusing a mobile. The leaf plates help us earn some money to fulfil our basic needs rather than asking for a loan from someone," said Ale. Ale informed that she makes around 400 leaf plates daily during the months when leaves are easily available.
Locals informed that since a forest is near the village, they have easy access to the leaves of Sal trees. Since the village lacks other sources of earning, making the leaf plates and selling them has helped the women become economically independent to a large extent. "There is no other work. Making leaf plates has at least helped me to afford two meals and the education of my children," said Kumal, a local who has been making leaf plates since she was 13. Officials of different industries from Chormara, Kawasoti, Devchuli and Gaindakot arrive at the village to collect the leaf plates.
"We had to take the leaf plates to the factories ourselves earlier, but the case is different now. They come to our doors and collect the plates," said Kumal. Nevertheless, the women argued that they are not quite satisfied with the amount they receive for the leaf plates as they have to do a lot of hard work. Most of the women in the area have been involved in making leaf plates recently as it helps them economically.