India is known as the land of festivities where a large number of people follow and celebrate the vividness of their colorful festivals with joy and happiness. Holi is amongst one of the famous festivals of the country that celebrates spring and the harvest.
But, the use of approximately 100,00,000 Tonnes of chemical / synthetic colors per annum poses serious health hazards for the people. The presence of harmful chemicals like oxides, glass particles and metal substances, etc., in the Holi colors makes them dangerous for the skin of humans.
In such a situation, the production and promotion of environment-friendly Holi prepared by using the different parts of the plants Green color made from Ground Neem Leaves (Azadirachta indica), spinach & yellow and red from Turmeric (Curcuma longa) is the need of the hour.
Taking a leap forward to encourage the rural women for their economic empowerment, the Krishi Vigyan Kendra, Dehradun, Uttarakhand took the opportunity of making eco-friendly herbal colors.
For transferring the technology at the local level, the KVK organized a number of awareness programmes. The method of preparation was kept very simple to enable the rural women to learn and produce it. The time and capital investment in the micro-enterprise based on herbal Holi Color preparation is very low.
With the passage of time, the people also prefer using the Herbal Colors to celebrate the festival. Keeping the increasing demands of Herbal colors in the market, the KVK organized a training programme on preparation and promotion of herbal Holi Color through the Self-Help Group for income generation undertaken in the rural area. During the programme, the women folks were apprised about the ill-effects of synthetic Holi colors, advantages of herbal Holi colors, methods and use of locally available natural resources for preparing Holi colors, capital investment in the micro- enterprise, profit ratio and also the basic requirements for starting an enterprise, etc.
During the Year - 2019-20 and 2020-2021, the KVK selected the rural women for the training programmes. Around 4 training programmes during 2019-20 and 16 were organized during 2020-21.
The women groups from Dhoolkot Village of Sahaspur Block, Dehradun District, Uttarakhand also showed their keen interest in the income generating activity. The Self-Help Group Members and the school drop-outs from the rural areas were provided with the various demonstrations during the Workshops organized by the KVK for preparing the eco-friendly Holi colors.
Keeping the current situation of prevalence of COVID-19 in mind, the KVK also utilized the various social media platforms to disseminate the information and provide virtual training programmes to the interested women folks.
The KVK’s initiative was welcomed whole-heartedly and the women folks in a large number of groups participated in the training programmes to get trained in preparing Herbal Holi colors. With an aim to provide the women groups with an opportunity to earn their livelihoods, the KVK also set-up stalls at the various Melas and fairs organized by the different Government and Private Organizations. Along with this, the Herbal Holi Colors prepared were also made available at the local shops in the markets too.
The initiative helped the rural women groups to earn themselves a respectable place in the society.
(Source: Krishi Vigyan Kendra, Dehradun, Uttarakhand)