Thatta Kedona

Culture is a Basic Need

Thatta Kedona Products

Products sold under the name of Thatta Kedona are already known in Pakistan and abroad since 1973. The hand crafted dolls in the attire of the regional provinces and minorities, in sizes of 20cm and 50cm, whereby the larger dolls have real hair, are special product of the Anjuman-e-Falah-e-Aama (NGO), which has been able to maintain the quality over the years and exhibits, collects and sells these dolls at many platforms.

The credit for this achievement goes above all to Dr. Senta Siller, the German graphic designer born in Vienna, who spent five years from 1993 to 1998 in the village of Thatta Ghulamka Dhiroka and established the NGO Anjuman-e-Falah-e-Aama, which trained about 120 women from the village in the making of these dolls. Income generating measure for the people of this rural community based upon the traditional culture.

The women are not dependent upon the project as most of them are mainly engaged in agricultural work. The philosophy behind the effort is, that if the people in the rural area have sufficient income, they don’t need to migrate to the cities because life in the rural environment is healthier and cheaper. One has a hut or a small house, a small garden or free space and piece of land; there is no danger of one going hungry or thirsty.

The project Thatta Kedona is part of a much larger concept. Dr. Siller has been successful in integrating many volunteers from foreign countries into the project, so that not only handicrafts are produced but also other aspects of village if are given due consideration. Men of the village for example make tin toys, there is a womens centre and mens centre as well as health centre, a drinking water station, a buffalo pond, a girls as well as boys school and the beginnings of a village museum. Another recent development is the consolidation of the experiences gained in the village and surrounding areas as well as work of six other NGO’s being prepared for transmission through the Internet-Radio. One is also working on a mud-house project, in which experiences of appropriate technology gained since 1997 have also been considered. Now and then we have overnight-staying guests, student groups like to visit the village to experience the village life and to exchange views openly with the village people.

The products of the NGO Anjuman-e-Falah-e-Aama are sold in Pakistan mainly through diplomats, experts and manager of international concerns and exported to Europe, North America, South Africa, Japan and Australia, but always in small quantities typical of handicrafts. The NGO has been taking part in international exhibitions (Germany, Japan) since the year 2000 and also received prizes, for example the Silver-Medal from IWSA-UN and Seal of Excellence from UNESCO. The Pakistani mother project has eight daughter projects in the meanwhile, among them Cameroon (1998), Columbia (1999), Iceland (2000) and the youngest in Brandenburg in Germany.

Conclusion: whether one is living in Punjab, Pakistan with scarce means or in Brandenburg, Germany, the problems are very similar.

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posted by S A J Shirazi @ 12:00 AM,


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