Goa Saras – the exhibition that promotes “StreeShakti”


Goa Saras, inaugurated on the 13th December 2018 by Jayesh Salgaonkar, Minister for Rural Development, is an exhibition that showcases rural talent on a State platform is currently on at Daryasangam, (Kala Academy grounds), Panaji, Goa. Organised by the DRDA (District Rural Development Agency), North and the Goa State Rural Livelihood Mission’s “StreeShakti”, it encourages rural women, making them self-sufficient and support-systems in their families.

The prime aim and mission of the exhibition is to encourage the local artisans as well as the traditional artisans from various parts of the country. It gives rural artisans an opportunity to compete with their counterparts from various States of India.

Handicrafts at the Saras Exhibition. Pic. Credit: Jessyl Fernandez

With the efforts of the DRDA, the Self Help Groups (SHG’s) reach out to rural women who are trained in various skills. Which in turn ensures that they turn out polished and fit for competition in the National market and their products are presentable and market-worthy. Not only are women trained in making handicrafts but also in preparing food items under the scheme. Awards are presented to ‘Best Stall’, “Highest Sale’ etc. and awardees are taken on field trips to other states to see other SHG’s.

Juices, squashes and preserve from Amla

The Rural Development Minister envisions Goa Saras as a regular event, organised in every Taluka. He intends to make it the best exhibition in Goa.

This year, Goa Saras saw participation from SHG’s across Goa and Maharashtra. Besides Goan home-made sweets, pickles, fruits, roots, bamboo baskets etc. there were stalls of masala powders, ‘chewdas’, slippers and hand-made shoes etc. from Nashik and Kolhapur in Maharashtra, India.

Home-made masalas by a Self Help Group from Kolhapur. Pic. Credit: Jessyl Fernandez
Hand-made ‘Catties’, a favourite of every boy growing up – all at Goa Saras 2018.  Pic. Credit: Jessyl Fernandez

Eye-catching was a tiny stall run by an SHG from Saligao, North Goa. Maria Fernandes was in her little stall with cute, little, hand-made cloth toys and puppets. Some were hanging from strings while some were placed on the table. The puppets were made with a lot of precision and looked very enticing. Something not everyone would notice. Says Maria, “there are no takers for these toys here in India. Only foreigners buy my toys and puppets.” She explained to me how safe her toys were especially for infants. And I agreed. Even the puppets were unique and I was tempted to buy one for myself.

Maria Fernandes with her cloth Puppets and toys. Pic. Credit: Jessyl Fernandez

All these skilled women need to be appreciated and supported by us. Visit Goa Saras and show them you care. The exhibition will be on till the 23rd of December 2018.