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NIFT to exhibit Siddi crafts
May '11
Handicraft works prepared by the Siddi community women, of African descent, would soon be exhibited at the National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT), Gandhinagar.

NIFT will organize an exhibition displaying art works of the Siddi community women, who belong to Junagadh district's Hadmatiya region.

“The Institute provided training in handicraft making to these tribal women for four months. For the Institute, it was the first experience of working with the women of this ethnic group,” said Panchami Mistry, Project Coordinator and Associate Professor at NIFT.

Ms. Mistry told fibre2fashion that the project was a joint initiative of Development Support Agency of Gujarat (D-SAG), an autonomous body of Tribal Development Department, and NIFT. Ms. Mistry praised the efforts of Mr. Ashwini Kumar, IAS, CEO, D-SAG and Additional Secretary, Tribal Development Department for funding the project.

Though the ladies of the Siddi community were literate, they were home bound and therefore were looking for an opportunity to generate more income for their family, Ms. Mistry said.

The products prepared by these women would be sold in the form of souvenirs to the tourists visiting Somnath Temple and Gir Forest, under the brand name of 'Siddi Tribes'. Besides, with an intention to help these women to purchase textile equipment from the market, NIFT would even provide certificates to these women, which would help them in obtaining loans.

Since these tribal women already possessed handicraft making skills, it decided to refurbish their skills, according to NIFT. The ladies were given primary sketching kit and design tools and were asked to make anything that they saw around themselves.

They were then provided training in preparation of handicraft items like purses, bags, jewellery and clutches. Initially they were provided rolling paper and asked to prepare dummy products out of these papers, but astonishingly they came out with excellent design ideas which included simple clutches, baskets, pen stands, etc.

Later on, they were provided with muslin cloth to prepare similar designs so that they can get practical experience and develop grip in stitching and embroidery.

The final products turned out to be simply outstanding. Nonetheless, this was not the end to their creativity. With an aim to promote their products and earn worldwide recognition for their community, these ladies have prepared mini dolls which mirror women and children of their tribe. These small dolls will be the mascots of their tribe.

Fibre2fashion News Desk - India

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