Manipur Women Survivors Exquisite Bamboo and Weaving Products hit market

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Women Weavers of Manipur at Nature Bazaar- Photo by CAFI
Women Weavers of Manipur at Nature Bazaar (Photo by CAFI)

NEW DELHI, December 3: Control Arms Foundation of India (CAFI) along with Manipur Women Gun Survivors Network (MWGSN) organised two exhibitions in Delhi, and the first exhibition was held as a part of Women of India Exhibition organised by the Ministry of Women and Child Development, Government of India from November 12 to November 23 at Dilli Haat, INA, New Delhi, said a press release by CAFI.

It said, after the completion of Dilli Haat Exhibition, the second exhibition started from November 25 to November 30 at Nature Bazaar, New Delhi, and the exhibition was a part of 22nd Annual Nature Bazaar which was organised by Dastakaar, an NGO, in association with Delhi Tourism, Government of Delhi.

In Nature Bazaar over 100 craft groups, small producers and designers showcased a wide range of hand-crafted lifestyle accessories, striking metal crafts, intricately carved decorative home furnishings, pottery, basketry, leather products, traditional paintings, an array of hand-woven textiles and much more from across India, and in the two exhibitions, some of the products displayed by women weavers are enaphi (a shawl wrapped around the shoulders), phanek (wrap/sarong), Kuki Shawls, Khamthang Shawl, Silk Dupatta and leiroom (a hand-woven scarf used on ceremonial occasions), along with a large selection of bamboo products like lamps, trays, holders and baskets, said the press release.

It said, six women artisans from Manipur namely Arambam Bijaya, Domneilhing, Sinam Debala Devi, Nengneilam Haokip, T. Muithang, and Kongkham Prabavati Devi came to Delhi to showcase their products and to explore and connect with urban market.

This is the first time when women survivors’ products have been brought to the market in Delhi, and the products on display have been made using the traditional skills combined with the design sensibilities of the organisations, including RangSutra and E’thaan Design Studios, which trained the women artisans, said the press release.

“We were first trained and later made the prototypes. We were given the layout for the motifs after seeing which we reproduced the designs,” said 38-year-old Arambam Bijaya, a woman survivor who is a weaver trained as Crafts Manager.

Manipur Women Weavers Products at Nature Bazaar- Photo by CAFIIn the press release Binalakshmi Nepram, founder, MWGSN has stated “the objective of the exhibition was to take the beautiful arts and crafts of women of Manipur and Northeast India to a larger audience and in long run bring peace to the Northeast region. Manipur in spite of having skilled artisans in the handicraft sector, many women remain poor as they do not have any link to the domestic and international markets. This is a humble initiative by Control Arms Foundation of India and Manipur Women Gun Survivors to provide livelihood and act as a healing touch to the fractured lives of women and children so that their lives can go on with a new found courage”.

It said, the courage that enabled to do the work came with support from United Nations Development Program (UNDP) India and North East Centre for Technology Application and Reach (NECTAR), an autonomous society, set up under Department of Science and Technology, Government of India with its headquarter at Shillong, Meghalaya.

MWGSN and CAFI was formed in 2004, to help women whose lives have been changed dramatically by violence in Northeast India particularly Manipur, to find solutions to end the ongoing violence and to provide a space for women to take a leading role in gender sensitive peace and security advocacy efforts, said the press release.

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