Training for Pathamadai mat weavers under way

Objective is to equip them with skills to create products with more attractive designs

Joining hands with Tamil Nadu Skill Development Corporation (TNSDC) and Crafts Council of India, the district administration has begun training expert weavers of the famous ‘Pathamadai mats’ in new designs and attractive products for sale through e-commerce platforms.

The objective behind the programme — designed by Collector V. Vishnu — is to financially uplift the target group by equipping them with skills to create products with more attractive designs and innovation to meet the standards of leading e-commerce platforms.

“The legacy of Pathamadai fine mats and the skill sets of the weavers are well-known across the country. Hence, with the expertise of TNSDC and Crafts Council of India, we want the artisans to take a relook at the products and enhance their livelihood through improved sale via modern e-platforms,” says Mr. Vishnu.

On Sunday, the Collector inaugurated the training programme funded by SANKALP (Skills Acquisition and Knowledge Awareness for Livelihood) initiative of Union Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship at Pathamadai.

A team of experts from TNSDC and the Union Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship are imparting training in creating attractive designs and new products such as eco-friendly tote bags, wallets and shopping bags.

Besides ensuring design intervention, the programme also eyes at imparting digital and financial literacy to 40 beneficiary weavers, who are completely unaware of these aspects.

“The beneficiary women weavers are from Lebbai community. Though are experts in mat weaving techniques, they lack digital and financial literacy required to tackle e-commerce platforms on a global basis. Hence, we have also designed modules to make them literate in digital and financial areas,” Mr. Vishnu points out.

The Collector has roped in Creative Dignity and Industree Foundation, Bengaluru, as training partners, who mainly focus on design interventions as they are experts in the field, especially in moulding rural artisans. Their design interventions will focus on educating the traditional artisans to produce contemporary products.

They will also impart financial literacy to cover aspects of entrepreneurship and management of business.

“Given the importance of e-commerce in the modern era, digital literacy is important. Hence, the programme will focus on educating the artisans about social media and e-commerce platforms and how to sell their products on them,” Mr. Vishnu adds.

At the inauguration, a virtual exhibition was organised to showcase products made by the Pathamadai mat weavers for leading companies to facilitate sourcing from the cluster in order to create market linkages and generate livelihood.

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