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Kuni Dehury empowering women in Keonjhar through Solar Energy

Bhubaneswar: Kuni Dehury from Keonjhar in Odisha is on cloud 9 after Prime Minister Narendra Modi praised her in his Sunday ‘Mann Ki Baat’ for training women to spin silk yarn using solar energy power machines.

“I never expected that the Prime Minister of India would praise me for my work. I am happy that my effort has been recognized and now the whole country knows about me. People of my village and nearby areas are also appreciating my work and achievement,” shared an elated Kuni.

Hailing from Karadapala village of Harichandanpur Block in Keonjhar district, 35-year-old Kuni has been empowering women of the region over a decade. She has so far trained over 500 women to spin silk on solar energy-powered machines.

Sharing about the journey, she said, “In Keonjhar, many ladies are involved in silk farming and spinning silk from the cocoon. In 2003, I got an opportunity to see how it’s done which raised my interest to learn the technique and procedure.”

She was barely 12 years old when in 2004 she started learning silk reeling at Bhagamunda Tassar Rearers’ Cooperative Society where she later started working as a trainer.

Before getting involved in the silk spinning sector, Kuni also worked as a labour in road construction and others. “I lost my father when I was 12 years old. After his demise, we had to struggle a lot to sustain ourselves. While my mother used to work in a tassar farm, I worked as a labour to meet our daily needs,” she said.

At the Bhagamunda Silk Park, she works as a master reeler and weaver where she trains women to spin silk from cocoons.

“There are around 250 reeling machines in the centre which run on solar power. The eco-friendly machines have reduced electricity consumption and have made silk reeling much easier than the traditional method,” said Kuni.

“Many women come to learn the method at the centre which has helped them to earn in their area and not to go outside Odisha. They earn around Rs 7000 in a month,” she added.

Recently she set up a silk spinning centre in her village where she is training over 50 local women in producing silkworm eggs and yarn from cocoons.

Kuni wants to set up more such centres in various villages, she has donated her paternal land to set up one centre in her village. “People from our region migrate to other cities and states for work. I want to give them better earning opportunities in their areas and involve more women in the silk spinning business.”

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