Imphal: Use of bamboo products can be traced back since the time immemorial in Manipur, especially in the hill districts, as ancestors were vastly depended on bamboo materials ranging from household items to construction of the house.
Taking advantage of huge available resources, a 27-year-old young artisan from Churachandpur district is taking bamboo products to a newer height and has come up with an eco-friendly set of tiffin boxes, gaining popularity among the netizens.
A self-taught artisan, V Ginkhanpau got introduced into artistic works at his young age while he played along with his peers using bamboo materials for fun.
However, his fondness for nature does not end there but this young artisan from B Kaljang village in Churachandpur build a career out of it while promoting the sustainable and eco-friendly products of bamboo.
“I think my artistic skill is an inborn talent since I was very much inclined to handicraft work from my childhood days. I was also interested in painting,” said Ginkhanpau.
The youngest among the two siblings, Ginkhanpau tasted hardships in life at a young age. He lost both his parents when he was still studying at Class IV and since then he had to support on his own apart from his sister.
“I used to distribute newspapers for a couple of years and after that, I joined a local printing company besides my studies. That was how I completed my Class 12. Life was hard then,” said Ginkhanpau.
In 2014, Ginkhanpau established his start-up company under the name Zogam Bamboo Works (ZBW) at Zenhang Lamka town in Churachandpur with a capital of Rs 2,000 in a small workshed. Now, in a month he could earn at least Rs 20,000 to Rs 25,000 per month.
In 2015, he underwent one-month training on bamboo products at Cane and Bamboo Technology Center (CBTC) at Byrnihat in Assam. Since then, this young entrepreneur is pushing hard and fine-tuning on over 20 products under his company.
Under the guidance of Ginkhanpau, around five craftsmen, all in their early 20s at Zogam Bamboo Works produced various items ranging from decorative pieces to pen drive which comes with bamboo cover.
The newest addition is a durable and exquisite tiffin box made of bamboo. And what caught everyone’s attention about the latest product is an innovative three-level of storage which is made purely out of bamboo, starting from its handle knobs to replacing nail by the bamboo.
The tiffin which is made specifically used dragon bamboo, locally known as gomi, can be store both hot and cold food and it will at least last for three years, said the young entrepreneur cum artisan.
Another product which is highly demanded by customers is the bio-degradable and natural air-tight bamboo water bottles, he said.
To continue to promote an innovative application of bamboo and utilise the local resources, Ginkhanpau aims to set up a common facility center for Zogam and bring in all the youths of whom he has trained so far.
Setting up such a dedicated center can proof that handicraft work can also sustain our livelihoods, said the young entrepreneur.
Till date, Ginkhanpau has trained as many as 100 youths from Manipur and other northeast states on bamboo works.