Hajiganj Handicrafts is located in Syedpur, in the northern part of Bangladesh. In 2006, it was noted by the staff of Prokritee, a Fair Trade Organization, that the village was in one of the poorest areas of Bangladesh. The people of the area had very limited education, no permanent work, hence very low income. Women had virtually no opportunity to work outside of their household responsibilities.
However the women did have some knowledge of crochet work. Training was initiated with ten women to increase their skills to produce export quality products. These ten women then in turn started training other women.
Hence in August, 2006, Hajiganj Handicrafts was formed.
There were initial obstacles to overcome, including procuring and financing the purchase of raw materials .The hard work and determination of the women employed by the project, ensured the continued functioning of Hajiganj Handicrafts. In October, 2006, the decision was made by the Job Creation Programme that Hajiganj Handicrafts had reached a quality and production level that would enable it to succeed as an enterprise. 35 regular producers were employed and 70 seasonal producers to ensure the poor womens livelihood.
Siham Craftlink came to hear at the end of 2007 , that this group was “dying” as there were no orders to sustain them. A decision was made to help these women immediately. Samples were requested and Siham Craftlink customers were asked for new ideas that these very talented ladies could make. On a recent trip to Bangladesh, Siham Craftlink shared these ideas with the head designer from Prokritee who in turn has passed the ideas onto the ladies.
Text courtesy of Siham Craftlink Pty Ltd