A Product designing and skill development workshop was organized for our Paper Mache artisans, based at Srinagar, Kashmir. The Group is engaged in making beautiful and unique artifacts from recycled paper, which are then hand painted in fine traditional & modern designs.
The objective of the one month long training program was to engage underprivileged women in the craft so as to open livelihood opportunities for them. Also, it aimed to improve the designing skills of artisans and make them aware of the current product design trends appealing to the target market.
The workshop was planned long back & was initially scheduled to be conducted in mid 2016 but due to prevalence of unfortunate circumstances like political unrest, terrorist activities, curfews and bad weather in the valley, the training program kept on being interrupted now & then. But the women were really keen to learn the skills & despite all odds, tried to make the workshop run whenever possible. Due to curfews, it wasn’t possible to organize the workshop daily, rather at intervals of two to three days or as found suitable. Finally, the workshop concluded in March 2017, with the 30 days of learning spread over 7-8 months .. 🙂
A total of ten women artisans participated in the workshop. They felt very happy to attend the program as learning & improving their skills would help them to carve a better living for themselves. Due to the regular clashes between military and militants , tourism has steeply declined in the past few years and consequently people are moving to other areas in search of employment. In such circumstances, learning new skills would be of great help to the women artisans as they could support their families financially and contribute in the family income, while the men are in search of employment avenues in newer areas.
The entire outlay of the program was borne by SETU. Also, stipend was provided to the women artisans during the tenure of the workshop.