Fifty-year-old Damit Pdakasiej, a mother of 3 girls and 4 boys, from Syntein in Mawsynram makes a living by weaving cane and bamboo handicrafts and marketing them.
Don Bosco Museum, which promotes indigenous art and culture, tourism and alternate livelihood system, is in support of initiatives taken by Self Help Groups (SHGs) and individuals such as Damit Pdakasiej.
Damit Pdakasiej is part of a 20-member ‘Kenbah Kynmynsaw Handicraft and Multi-purpose Co-operative Society’ formed in 2007. Initially, members of the group were trained by government agencies. However since then, they now stand on their own and support their families by manufacturing and marketing their products themselves.
When asked if the trade is sustaining, Damit Pdakasiej said, “In a day, an individual usually makes one big-sized handicraft or two small-sized ones. I earn approx Rs. 200, including the bamboo materials, in a day.” “We are generating an income and managing well,” she added. Her husband Hodling Lapen is also a member of the Society.
Damit Pdakasiej, who first learnt the art of craft-making by watching her mother, also passes on her skills to others by teaching participants attending vocational training programmes organised occasionally by the Society.
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