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08 August 2022
I've had the privilege of travelling through many countries including, India, Thailand, Cambodia, Indonesia, Peru, Ecuador, Chile, Greece and Portugal to name a few. Throughout my travels I chose to get close to the culture and the people by visiting less tourist destinations and taking roads less travelled. This allowed me to see beautiful rural and village communities who continue to live a slow, intentional and more harmonious life in sync with the environment around them.
I was exposed to the tremendous beauty of their handicrafts, and the skill and precision of their artistry, which would have taken years to perfect. From hand-block printing to weaving baskets and rugs to stone and wood carving to fine arts painting and intricate embroidery - every piece capturing the soul of the maker.
Each craft carries the strong identity of the community from which it originates. For example, India's hand-block printing, the dyes and patterns used can be specific to different regions of the country, showcasing the beauty from that culture and community. It captures the history of the people who made them and their significance.
The beauty of rural craft based and hand-made products lies in the fact that each item is truly unique and differ slightly from each other. Even though the same technique or ingredients have been used, the variations occur because every hand behind the craft adds their own identity and soul.
It's common to see slight irregularities with hand made products and it is not something to discard or view as a defect but rather, to embrace the uniqueness of this piece.
In today's world of climate change, drought and more recently, impacts of COVID-19, rural, village and remote communities are often hit harder than their urban counterparts.
These communities have less access to opportunity with many being economically deprived. Making and selling traditional crafts and artistry can lift families and communities out of desperation.
A significant benefit of supporting rural communities is the empowerment of women. Considering the challenges faced especially by women in rural areas, such as poverty, low literacy levels and unemployment, traditional handicrafts and artisanal work can empower women so that they can become their own agents of positive change.
Born in 1960, Lalitha is the mother of 4 and is a housewife. During her spare time she engages in the weaving reed bags to supplement the income generated by her husband. Weaving bags from her home allows her to support the family financially while now a grandmother looking after her grandchildren, while her children are away at work. She believes in the potential of the handicraft sector in Sri Lanka to help the country generate income and therefore wishes to continue engaging in the sector.
Priyangani is a mother of 3 and a housewife. Born in 1960, she weaves reed bags to supplement the income earned by her husband and help meet the financial needs of her family. She weaves reed bags from home during her spare time and values the flexibility this work gives her. She is keen to promote the traditional craft and often takes part in skill development workshops to train the younger generation. She hopes her grandchildren and their generation will grow to appreciate the beauty of handmade products.
Supporting rural communities through purchasing their handicraft results in:
Your support provides a lifeline by:
Helping to lift families and communities out of desperation
Empowering women to become their own agents of positive change