Saturday, August 01, 2009

Visually impaired Sikkim artist enables others for self-reliance

GANGTOK - A visually impaired bamboo artisan in Sikkim imparts training to many other disadvantaged people like him and help them gain self-reliance in life.
The 37-year-old Chandra Singh Gurung is one of the visually challenged workers offering training to enthusiastic artists under Directorate of handloom and industry in Cane and Bamboo crafts.
Gurung is a master bamboo and cane artist. He has been working in the bamboo and cane unit of the Directorate of Handicrafts and Handlooms for over a decade and has set an example of self-reliance.
The principal handicrafts of the region include basketwork, cane furniture, bamboo flower, mats and woodcarvings. The items which are made include stools, flowers, pen stands, picture frames, baskets, dust bins, beer mugs, hair clips and butterfly wall decoration.
Having learnt the art of Moda making (cane or bamboo stools) at the Kalimpong Salvation Army Institution, the Braille matriculate Gurung joined the Directorate as an artisan in 1986.
He tells that Government has opened many schemes for the people like him where they could learn the art as per their talent.
“Indian Government has opened many schemes for the people like us. I’m doing this cane and bamboo work in Sikkim. Others can go in for light engineering while still others can take up physiotherapy as per their talent,” said Gurung.
Every ‘moda’ Gurung makes sells at anything between 9.24 dollars to 10.27 dollars a piece.
Gurung is today not just a worker but a trainer as well and has trained jail inmates at the state prison in Rongyek, near Gangtok.
Namrata Thapa, directorate of Handicraft and Handloom Industry, Sikkim said that in this institute the students could earn while they learnt.
“This is the institute where we are providing employment opportunities to the physically handicapped people as far as possible not only the employment opportunities but we are giving them training in different crafts also as per their aptitude in their fields that they are interested to pursue,” said Thapa.
By Tashi Pradhan(ANI)