Shillong, Oct 24: It is time for talented weavers from India’s northeast to become entrepreneurs by cashing in on their potential, says Meghalaya Chief Minister Mukul Sangma.
The just ended two-day Shillong Fashion Week (SFW) served as a platform for work-based interaction between the local weavers, budding designers and established names from the Indian fashion world.
“With more than 50 percent of Indian handloom weavers from the northeast, we want to enable people to realise the benefits in the fields of textiles and all other ethnic designs. So we came up with this (mass) mobilisation campaign in different blocks that will help weavers learn entrepreneurship skills,” Sangma told IANS in an interview on the sidelines of Shillong Fashion Week (SFW).
Sangma hopes the fashion gala, which attracted weavers, designers and the national media, would help create an environment for all of northeast’s budding designers and give them a chance to work with top national designers and showcase their products jointly.
“Obviously this (event) will give them (local weavers) an insight into how to benchmark their own products to be able to reach out to that level where top designers have reached,” he said.
The government’s support is indispensable.
“Only when the weavers get the (right) value for their products will they think that weaving can be a respectable option for livelihood. That is exactly what we are trying to do. There are a huge number of weavers in Meghalaya who can enable their product to reach the market. (But) it can only happen when such promotional events are backed by the government,” said Sangma.
He has conducted a campaign to find out the total number of weavers in Meghalaya and understand how many of them wish to partner with government programmes.
Monetary support is also being offered.
“We are registering the weavers and they are supported by some income generation schemes, where we keep some amount of yarn to convert them into fabric,” he said.
Sangma hopes these “initiatives will help in transforming the state into a new vibrant state”.
(Nivedita can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)