Message from the Mother of the Dolls
Saturday, December 15, 2012
I started in 1993 to make handicraft dolls in the village of TGD together with the village girls. The effort was based upon available resources and a respect for the local tradition. Especially the hand-made dolls representing the dresses of the different provinces and minorities became very popular.
Only scarce information was available at that time about these groups and their dresses and obtaining the relevant materials was also a problem. Detailed field studies were needed to obtain and organize the required information, which was quite expensive.
It was very important for the project, which was initially supposed to be only a women’s project, to feel and sense the local peculiarities, abilities and skills.
I lived between 1993 and 1998 on invitation of the village elders in the village and trained about 120 women, who practically started to earn some income right from the start through increasing sale of their products in the provincial capitals. But never were and are the NGO-Members dependent upon the project, as only additional income is generated. The village women already have a house for residence and agricultural land, so that the additional income enables them and their families to remain in the village and not move to cities, where life continues to become more expensive and paid work keeps shrinking.
This project is meant to provide for income of women in the rural areas. The daughters have grown up in the meanwhile and since 1998 also young men from the village are integrated into the project and are engaged –among others- with the use of appropriate technology.
The products have been regularly developed further with the help of volunteers from Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Australia and New Zealand. The NGO Members on the other hand have participated in Workshops in Dubai, Germany and Iceland and contributed in this way to the aims and objects of the effort.
Changes in political situation have necessitated a flexible approach: Nuclear tests, economic changes and local disputes have led to a decrease in sales, which has affected the locals as well as foreigners. The number of Melas has also decreased due to well known reasons. It is necessary to react quickly to changes, so that products were also offered to collectors and other customers, even if the number of orders were small and meant for customers in Japan, Australia, North America and Europe.
The success of the dolls project led to invitations in other countries, so that today women in Cameroon (since 1998) Columbia (since 1999), Iceland, Greece and Germany are also making dolls. The undressed dolls for Europe are made in our village in Pakistan.
With the help of volunteers we were also able to support the project by selling various dolls to ethnological museums in Europe.
I often receive letters and calls and my well-wishers ask me about my whereabouts. Dear Friends, customers and collectors, of course I have not forgotten you. The current intensive but very interesting work in the German project reminds me of the years between 1993 and 1998, which were not possible without the support and help of local and foreign volunteers.
The technological advances of today make many things easier, so that time zones are bridged and you can easily reach me by eMail and Skype and information can be broadcast through the Internet Radio of TGD, as well as the Thatta Kedona blog.
In the hope to be together with you and wishing all success to our village women through you purchases and interest in the project, I look forward to seeing you again, - in Pakistan or in Germany, in reality or virtually !
We try to sense future developments in our projects, including ground-breaking concepts to conserve energy. The motto here remains: Words must be followed by actions, so that active environmental protection can be carried out !!
I greet you heartily once again and remain
Labels: Dr. Senta Siller
posted by Omar M. Ali @ 9:30 AM,
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