Sillanwali Cluster – A Wooden Folding Stool – A design introduced through AHAN interventions

AHAN has executed project in wooden handicraft cluster in Sillanwali, district Sargodha in year 2009 -10. During baseline activities it was found that the cluster had limited product range and hence restricted gains. AHAN, through its interventions in product development introduced new and contemporary market-oriented designs to the cluster. About 15 new products and designs were introduced in a period of one year. Newly developed products were displayed in various local and national level exhibitions. Also a beautiful catalog of new products which were designed and developed through AHAN interventions was also printed and distributed among artisans & crafts persons, traders and exporters.

A design introduced through AHAN interventions, A Wooden Folding Stool – Over 2000 piece of wooden folding stools were manufactured and sold in all over Pakistan. Continuous production orders are being placed for this design, which is being manufactured both in Sillanwali, district Sargodha and Chiniot. The price of average folding stool is Rs. 2500. Nearly five (5) million rupees worth of business has been generated through this product and the amount was spent in improved wages for the artisans, quality raw material and extension of business activities in the cluster.

Community Development Program (CDP) – Government of Sindh – AHAN Technical Assistance Project

AHAN believes in building partnerships with other organizations in order to maximize the benefits to the community. In one such collaboration, AHAN Sindh initiated a project in 2013 for provision of Technical Assistance to eight community support organizations (CSOs) of Sindh under the Community Development Program by Planning & Development Department of Government of Sindh from 1st July 2013 to 31st August 2014. The objective of the project is to empower skilled carftswomen in Ralli, Embellishment, Accessories and Basketry through provision of capacity building trainings on product development and to strengthen the CSOs in enterprise development enabling them to establish brands in the market at national and international levels. This project is expected to create lucrative income generating and employment opportunities for communities whilst preserving the traditional crafts.

Under this project, AHAN adopted a new model of training delivery which was different from the ones being implemented for product development. AHAN Sindh implemented trainings at field training centers set up by the partner CSOs in their respective areas. AHAN in collaboration with CSOs implemented trainings of ten groups in each CSO with a targeted number 1625 beneficiaries. Other major interventions of this project included Product Development Trainings for each group of 20 female artisans, Advance Trainings in Crafts and Finishing of Products, Marketing support through Exhibitions, provision of Printing Material, Establishment of Product Brands, Logo Design Development, Brand Activation and Printing of Packaging.

AHAN also extended technical support to partner CSOs to help them establish local handicraft outlets and finishing centers, transform into Social Enterprise and strengthen the systems for implementing skill development projects at grass root level which will ultimately ensure prosperous future for artisans.

This project has given AHAN the opportunity to access the eight districts in one year and widen the outreach of AHAN Sindh and explore new communities.

Farasi Carpets

The pilot project was conducted in village Baghli, Taluka Golarchi, District Badin, Sindh. Farasi rugs come under the category of hand-woven Carpets / Rugs made of camel and sheep yarn. The six month project of “Farasi Carpets / Rugs” focused on product diversification and skill enhancement including new designs, color combinations, use of raw materials and process interventions.

AHAN facilitated a visit by a Japanese exporter – Mr. Khalid ul Hassan (Karuizawa Gallery) who was very impressed with the products and purchased samples of more than Rs. 1,000,000. A German consultant – Mr. Beck also visited the village to examine the products and found them of excellent quality. He suggested interventions in design, color and size viable for international market. Last but not the least, craftswomen started receiving placement of international orders for products like Camel wool rugs from Karuizawa Japan.  

Hassan – Leather Embroidery, Lehri – Sibi

In Pakistan, Lehri Sibi is the exclusive hub of Leather Embroidery. A limited number of artisans work in remote villages, most of them traditionally linked with businesses. Many artisans have learnt these skills from their parents and forefathers. They chiefly prepare embroidered Chappals, Wallets etc and sell them to local shops and wholesalers. Though the profit earned is not enormous, it is adequate for sustenance. Lack of fashion consciousness, new designs, innovative color schemes, product development and business promotion skills is a bottleneck that constrain opportunities for business and development of these people.

AHAN is engaged in livelihood enhancement of these artisans. In year 2011, AHAN conducted a Skill Enhancement Training Program on leather embroidery. The seven month long training started in January 2011 and successfully generated new ideas in terms of designs, motifs, color schemes and products. AHAN supported successful trainees with marketing and financial linkages. Periodical visits by master trainer to the village were ensured to constantly improve the quality of production. To ensure market linkages, AHAN arranged for people who provide raw material at doorstep. AHAN also places orders and collects the products on a regular basis. AHAN has impaneled many customers and traders all across the country to ensure regular demand of embroidery on pure leather.

Mr. Hassan, a poor leather-embroidery artisan, was linked with KO-ee shoe making company of Lahore during AHAN-SAARC Exhibition at Islamabad in February 2013. AHAN gave the innovative idea to the shoe-making company to incorporate hand-embroidery on pure leather in their handmade shoes. In the initial stages, the company involved these artisans in embroidery-work with new designs & color schemes for display in an exhibition by FN Platform Company in USA. The idea of incorporating traditional hand-embroidered leather into modern designs was highly appreciated there. The stall won the award of “Best Exhibitor”. This was the first time leather embroidery of ‘Lehri’ was introduced to international market. As a result, a huge production order of handmade embroidered shoes was received from an international company. Now Mr. Hassan and his cluster are engaged in fulfilling this lucrative production order from international market. Glimpses of success reflect from the faces of artisans who are leading a happy life with their families today.

Nazi Naeem

Nazi Naeem is a 40 year old married female who is currently working in Dara Adam Khel (FATA) FDA skill center. She possessed experience not only in hand embroidery but also in machine embroidery, knitting and fabric painting.  She has been working in the field of craft since 1994. Her passion of earning a livelihood through handmade embroidery triggered her into initiating production on her own however lack of entrepreneurial skills and limited resources hampered her to prosper.

Nazi participated in Training of Trainers (TOT) Project, conducted by AHAN KPK in collaboration with Fata Development Authority (FDA) in 2013. Sharing her thoughts about her experience in participating in TOT with AHAN; “My experience with AHAN has been rewarding, brilliant and above average”. Though I have been involved in hand embroidery over years however it has been my experience in TOT project that has enabled me to understand market needs, the whole process of production and maintenance of quality in developing products”.

According to her the TOT has enabled her to develop new products as per market requirements and helped her link to reliable regional and national distribution channels. Moreover her capacity has improved which will enable her to impart quality training to her trainees.

Since participating in the project Nazi has been involved in production for AHAN worth Rs. 65,000. Her skills were utilized as master trainer by AHAN KPK during skill enhancement project conducted in collaboration with UNDP RAHA. Moreover she has also been selected as a master trainer for the ongoing Skill Enhancement & Livelihood Initiative (SELI) currently in process in collaboration with UNHCR RAHA.