Phulkari artisans to form self-help groups

Says Kaki Begum of Majri Akalian village: ‘Profit margins reduce drastically as the product has to be sold to middle-men or traders who market it further. Village women are also dependent on traders for supply of cloth and thread.’

The two-day workshop, which is aimed at integrating the craft of the city, be it phulkari embroidery, ‘jutti’ making or making of ‘parandis’ and ‘nalas’, with the cultural heritage of the city, particularly Quila Mubarak, focussed on the creation of the self-help groups besides showing the artisans how they could use innovations to their benefit.
Neelam Chibber, who runs a society by the name of ‘Industry’ in Bangalore, while talking to TNS said the self help group experiment had been tried successfully in the marketing of crafts of Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh. She said NGOs needed to be encouraged to follow this path. The women had been asked to form more such groups which could collect some money to start work which could be expanded through micro credit.

‘Once these groups get into place and start manufacturing crafts products we will get into the picture and allow them to sell at the Quila Mubarak complex itself and any other suitable place in the nearby market,’ she added. The women who attended the workshop are enthusiastic about the proposal and even asked the organisers to issue them identity cards besides sponsoring their visits to other craft melas in the country.

Manjit Kaur, another participant, said the organisers of the workshops had also advised them to make small items like cushion covers, purses and file covers in phulkari besides traditional suit and bedsheet items. These, Neelam Chibber says, find a ready market. Besides, craftsmen were asked to use their imagination to create new phulkari designs in shades which were trendy instead of manufacturing phulkari only in the traditional bright colours.

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