Shanti, 30, is an artisan from Kharoro Charan village in Umerkot, Sindh. Embroidery has been a part of her life from a young age. “I learned embroidery skills myself because my mother died when I was just a child,” Shanti proclaims. “I enjoy this work because it is in our culture, and our community is known for this work.”
Traditional handicraft skills are a daily feature in the life of most rural Sindhi communities. “Embroidery work is a good source of income for our people and many love to wear embroidered clothes in all seasons in our country,” Shanti believes. “Our handmade craft is demanded in the market, and fortunately we are very rich in this skill.”
Shanti joined Community World Service Asia’s training centre because she wanted to see her embroidery to be used in new and different designs and products which could be sold in the urban market. She wants to be able to provide for her family and cover the costs of health care and education for her children. “When my children ask for new clothes for festivals, I am not able to fulfil their wishes,” Shanti admitted dismally.
Through the project, Shanti has been able to work with design and textile students from Karachi, and learn new skills to further enhance her inborn talent and develop exciting opportunities. “I did not know about color combination before I met with the students. They taught me about the usage of color, which colors look better in craft. Moreover, I got more ideas on new designs, and now I am trying out those designs in my embroidery and stitching”
Shanti enjoyed working with the students and sharing her traditional embroidery skills with them. “The students are very kind and they respect our culture, and have taught us how to work on new designs very well” she says. One of Shanti’s most memorable experiences was visiting Karachi and participating in a design workshop at the Textile Institute of Pakistan campus. “I have never been to any school before, so I was very happy to visit such a big school,” she added. Shanti hopes to provide better education opportunities to her children with the additional income she will earn through craft making. “My children will get admission in big schools, and I am already working on orders to be able to achieve that. Maybe I can start my own enterprise someday!”