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UNESCO Working for Economic Empowerment of Women - Exhibition of Cultural Products From South Punjab

UNESCO in collaboration with THAAP and Serena Business Complex organized an Exhibition of the Cultural Products of South Punjab at Serena Business Complex (Serena Hotels) Islamabad on Tuesday, 4th December 2012. The exhibition
displayed the cultural products prepared under the joint initiative of One UN (ARP-JPC-2) project "Promotion of Cultural Industries for Poverty Alleviation in Bahawalpur" which was spearheaded by UNESCO in partnership with THAAP in 2012.

The project was carried out in 3 villages in the outskirts of Bahawalpur City (Village Dingarh and DB 80) which are the drought affected areas of Cholistan desert where 150 women have been engaged through capacity building in crafts making and focused on providing opportunities for income generation and decent livelihoods.

Capacity building, through artisan and designer collaboration, transferred and honed the skill level of the craftspeople in pit-loom woven fabric, chunri making skills, embroidery and ralli-making and developed designs to attract the contemporary market demands. New skills such as Ikat-making were also taught to the village weavers to increase their repertoire and equip them to explore different avenues and markets. Pit-loom woven fabric and Embroidered Fabric of high quality was developed and the skills of continual design development transferred to the marginalized artisan communities of District Bahawalpur to enable long term benefits of the Project. Equipped with management and marketing skills the participants of the Project are poised for receiving orders from the up-market Islamabad buyers.

"Pakistan lies at the cross roads of history and culture and craft making traditions have been influenced from all the neighboring countries/territories spread over centuries. Therefore craft making tradition can be categorized as synthesis of various cultural influence and inspirations" said Mr. Asif Ghafoor, Secretary National Heritage & Integration who attended the event as a Chief Guest. HE Cecile Landsverk (Ms) Ambassador of Norway Embassy in Islamabad will also attend the occasion and appreciated the craft work of artisans and efforts of UNESCO in promoting the centuries old craft traditions. Dr. Kozue Kay Nagata, Director/Representative, UNESCO, while making her speech elaborated "Culture in all its dimensions, is a fundamental component of sustainable development". As a sector of activity, through tangible and intangible heritage, creative industries and various forms of artistic expressions, culture is a powerful contributor to economic development. Mr. Talat Mehmood, Manager Serena Business Complex assured to collaborate and extend support to UNESCO for organizing such events in the future.