Tapestry sequinned by women empowerment

Women from various NGOs joined hands to bring CEQUIN’s (Centre for Equity and Inclusion) annual festival ‘Jamia Bazaar’ to the premises of Delhi’s
Select Citywalk, DLF Mall recently.

Jamia Bazaar, a collective of women to showcase their talents in handicrafts and other artwork is to popularise the craft and culture learnt by special children and women from economically-weak sections of society.

CEQUIN has been organising this event for the past three years at the India Islamic Cultural Centre, but this year the bazaar of 12 stores had been set up in the midst of luxury brands and high-end perfume shops. DLF provided CEQUIN free space to showcase its ‘social mission’ at the mall for the cause of Kashmir.

Zeba Kazmi, programme officer of CEQUIN’s craft says, “As CEQUIN’s mission is women empowerment, all crafts here come from local NGOs in Jamia Nagar working for women empowerment, especially Muslim women and children.”

At least six NGOs had gathered including, Shine, Azra, The Delhi Society for The Welfare of Special Children, Prerna and Fashion Walk.

The women and children had collected their best products for sale to promote this charitable event. The work maintained its ethnicity and authenticity displaying animal figures, traditional pottery, ethnic lamps, glass works and also a series of items in wood. Handwork on carpets, shawls and paintings were also for sale. Jewellery with bead work and jewellery boxes embellished with minakari work and furnishings in patchwork and other colourful handiwork was displayed on the tables covered with white cloth.

Asha Ahmed from The Delhi Society for The Welfare of Special Children says, “We teach the children to create products out of various materials and textiles, and for Jamia Bazaar we present those products.”

Good quality handicraft and handloom furnishing and textiles, and several other accessories for home, which include table mats, durries as well as rugs and doormats were made by the women in the NGOs.

But the place did not attract many buyers as the event was held in the far end of the mall. Everyone just sat idly and expectantly. Also, given the swanky ambience of the mall, the stores in comparison looked too small and inadequate to sustain the attention of the elite passersby.

Masarath from CEQUIN says, “It was not a bad experience, though this year we did not sell that much. But you can say ‘something is better than nothing’.”

A non-profit organisation, CEQUIN was set up in 2008 by Sara Pilot and Lora Prabhu, who have worked extensively in the development sector for the empowerment
of women from marginalised sections.

The women who participate in the bazaar are given lessons in accounting,costing, particularly learning to add a cost and value to their
own labour.

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