Handicrafts of Bengal embody our rich heritage of aesthetics, creativity and artistry. The sector represents economic lifeline of the vulnerable sections of the society, with women accounting for around 50% of the artisans and a significant number belonging to the weaker sections of the society. It provides low cost, green livelihood opportunities to more than 5.5 lakhs men and women. Departmet of MSME&T, Government of West Bengal has partnered with UNESCO to unleash the potential of craft sector of the state in terms of employment, enterprises, export and growth. Under this initiative community led and managed Rural Craft Hubs are being developed in ten locations across the state. The project initiated in 2013 targets revitalization of traditional crafts of Bengal as vibrant economic sector thereby ensuring socio-economic inclusion of rural poor by 2016 in tandem with the principles of fair trade.
|Name of the District||Craft|
|Dakshin Dinajpur||Wooden mask|
|Bardhaman||Wooden doll, Dokra|
The craft persons are being oriented on making high quality diversified and new products suiting current market demands and trend using their traditional skill. Qualitative improvement through technical inputs is also being targeted in the skill development workshops.
Workshops done with the crafts persons also targeted increasing marketability through innovation in existing product ranges like reducing the size of wooden mask, Sitalpati using reactive dye and also development of new product range like utility items Dokra, wooden doll and Terracotta. Range of craft has also been developed for interior decoration. The old traditional style of Sujni Kantha was revived in these workshops besides introducing modern designs in Kantha embroidery.
The rural craft hubs are also being developed aiming at evolving the craft villages as tourism destination offering authentic experience of indigenous life. Village festivals are being organized to create local ‘recognition’, attracting visitors, developing new partnerships including media and benefitting the larger communities around craft villages.
Entrepreneurial skill building workshops are held to develop cultural enterprises at grass root and instill the idea of working as a collective business. The workshops also sensitise the crafts persons on working towards addressing social concerns like gender issues, environmental health.
All the hubs will have a Common facility Centre equipped as per community expectations and requirements. West Bengal Khadi and Village Industries Board (WBKVIB) is providing the necessary hardware support. New furnace is being procured from NML, Jamshedpur to replace the existing furnaces.
Participation of the crafts persons in different national and international fairs and exhibitions are being facilitated.