Ranchi: Long been associated with the crudely fermented alcoholic beverage, mahua is now being used as a transformative tool to empower rural women in Jharkhand.
Currently, over 300 women find themselves an integral part of the organisation
An NGO named Sunmargam Foundation is bringing social change - by making pedas from mahua.
It has roped in more than 30 women's self-help groups, where 70-80 women were given training for making the sweet.
Sidharth Tripathi, a member of the Sunmargam Foundation, said that the NGO was formed around 18 months ago, with only nine youngsters on-board.
The main objective of the organisation was to help women from rural areas to become financially independent. Currently, over 300 women find themselves an integral part of the organisation.
The peda production process Ratna Devi, associated with the production said the sweets are made from a mixture of khoya and mahua, mixed in a 50:50 ratio. Before mixing with khoya, the mahua pulp is first slow-cooked on a low flame.
On a daily basis, just 5 kilograms of pedas are made, as the process is time-consuming. Although, Devi does not seem to care much about the quantity, she finds making sweets out of an ingredient synonymous with alcohol, in itself an accomplishment.
Mahua flowers are brought in from districts like Lohardaga, Simdega, and Gumla.
Pedas possess medicinal properties too According to Tripathi, the mahua pedas have multiple positives. While people have been praising the sweet taste, they have additional Ayurvedic healing properties too.
People complaining of knee-related problems have reportedly benefited from the sweet.
Patent for pedas Tripathi adds that since sweets are being made out of mahua for the first time, the organisation is currently pushing towards patenting the process.