Minakshi Walke is a non-traditional Bamboo artisan born in a small village Savargaon, village of Chandrapur district in Maharashtra. She completed her higher secondary education from her village and for her junior college studies she had to cycle every day to a nearby town. After that for two-academic years she pursued her graduation in Science from a college in Sindewahi Taluka, Maharashtra (approx. 16 Kilometers away from her home).Her father is a poor farmer. She married to Mr. Mukesh who also comes from a very humble background. She was fond of art and she started making small artifacts with plywood and silk thread. She was going well but in 2018 of July she lost her baby girl in the womb. This made her turn her life in to Bamboo with a pledge. She took a small training of 70days. Then she began to her experiment. Since then she never turned back.
Minakshi Walke the Bamboo lady !
One such woman who shone like a
star when she got a chance to showcase her work is Minakshi. She was born near
a brick kiln, a small village of Savargaon in Nagbhir Tehsil. She later started
living in slum areas right after her marriage. Worries about her son’s future,
lack of guidance on new technology and only average education to add to her
struggles, overall poverty struck life, Minakshi faced many such challenges to
overcome her problems.
She is the first craftsperson who
got golden opportunity to design the aesthetic jewellery and crown made from
bamboo for the contestants in an international beauty pageant, ‘Miss Climate’
December 2019, sponsored by an American institution. On that occasion, Minakshi
was also honored on the stage by the dignitaries.
Minakshi is probably the first
bamboo artisan in the country to have her skills ironed in Jerusalem, Israel.
The Chief Minister of Maharashtra
had liked the Bamboo Rakhis made by her. Minakshi came into limelight in 2020
when she sent Rakhi made up of bamboo to our Honorable Prime Minister, Shri
Narendra Modi on the occasion of Rakshabandhan. It benefited her by getting to
grow her business with six thousand
rakhis and providing employment to the women in lockdown. Minakshi’s hardship
in life is unending. She lives in a small place, works there and trains many
women in this field.
She is a unique artisan who
inspires and teaches people, especially women who are from a background similar
to her to do bamboo farming and to learn the Bamboo craft. Her talent for
socially empowering women by teaching them techniques to make artwork and make
an independent living is another feather in her cap. Minakshi is now getting invitations to teach
in many states like Telangana, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, etc.
Her work with bamboo as an artisan has many objectives developing like self-reliant, employment, plastic-free
environment, the prosperity of farmers, village development, etc. Minakshi has not only employed many women but
brought Vidarbha’s name among eleven countries in the world.
Without any artistic background and encouragement, she chose to do something with her life and opted for a 70-day course in bamboo craftwork under the government’s scheme. Since then, Minakshi has made several artworks with bamboo, forthwith empowered women around her and also achieved several awards for her contribution towards the society.
Minakshi, who runs a social
enterprise called Abhisar Innovatives, was given the ‘Top 20 Start-up Award’ in
Delhi. The Human Rights Society of New Delhi also conferred the National Nari
Shakti Samman Award to her. Minakshi says that our culture is very vibrant and
we must get inspired by it.
Along with making her bamboo
artworks, she also works on social causes like emancipation of plastic goods,
protecting the environment, promoting bamboo farming, rural development and
employment, making bamboo available for cheap to build houses for the poor. Minakshi says, “It will be easy to empower
women if we work hard on our cultural inspirations. Every woman is a star in
herself, you just have to respect her, not discriminate and give her an equal
Her ultimate vision and the
upcoming plan is to enhance bamboo cultivation across the country, guaranting
employment and training. Despite poor financial background, hardship in getting
loans from banks, difficulty in finding a decent and affordable place for her
workshop, she cannot sit idle. Her elevated soul makes her different from
others. Her strong belief in integrity, truth and perseverance make her a courageous
She is a member of various
organizations such as Bamboo Society of
India Bengaluru, Gramayan, Nagpur WICCI, Delhi, World Bamboo Organizations, USA,
President: Shramjivi Sarva kalyan multi purpose organization
She has been awarded with
prestigious awards like the National Woman Power Award 2018 and Top 20 start-up
awards 2019 Delhi.