'Dastkar' celebrates silver jubilee with crafts fair

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New Delhi, Nov 2 (UNI) A six-day exhibition and sale of handicrafts by "Dastkar", a society for crafts and craftspeople, opened here today as part of its silver jubilee celebrations.

Set up in 1982, Dastkar helps craftspeople with providing access to a multiplicity of techniques, materials, form and motifs to improve their skills to meet the challenges in an increasingly globalised and competitive world.

"The craftspeople are the real artists of our country and our aim is to increase, use and show their talent to the whole world," said Lailla Tayyab, president of Dastkar while inaugurating the celebrations at Travancore House.

Craftspeople from almost all over the country have come to showcase their talent and to sell their work. They said the handicrafts units employed thousands of women as a result of which women's status as earning members of the family provided them with a newfound respect within the community.

"Dastkar has given us, a platform to use our skills and to earn our bread," said Bappirath, seceretary of Darbar Sahitya Sanstha, an NGO, from Khurda in Orissa.

He said in the Sanstha, almost all work is done by women.

There are 200 groups of women in the organisation with each acomprising 20 members.

Dastkar was established in 1981 with only six women to start an organisation that dealt with the problems of traditional artisans in contemporary India. Presently, it is working in 19 states with 180 crafts groups.

The organisation provides training and other assistance to the craftspeople. It also undertakes marketing for their items through these types of fairs and 'Nature Bazaar', which has become a sort of landmark event.

At the fair, craftspeople have brought a variety of their work including 'Pipli Applique' toys and coir products from Orissa, "Sujini" embroidery and Madhubani paintings from Bihar, Dhabla weaving in wool, silk and cotton from Gujarat.


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