Asian women entrepreneurs sell handmade products globally

New Delhi, Sep 19 (IANS) For 33-year-old Bangladeshi Tauhida Haider, hand-made jute products of her enterprise consisting 50 local women of Dhaka have been spanning out to 18 countries globally. Pashmina shawls of Nepalese woman Reeta Simha have found their way to Japan and Norway.

For these women entrepreneurs from SAARC countries, nothing has helped their businesses more than sharing of each others’ traditions behind fabrics and cultures.

A two-day SAARC Chamber Women Entreprenuers Council (SCWEC) exhibition organised in the national capital on Friday-Saturday gave space to women artisans from all the SAARC nations — Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Pakistan, Maldives, Nepal and Sri Lanka.

Hosted by India, the ‘SCWEC Market Place Exhibition’ at the FICCI lawns in the city, had witnessed some of the most delicately laid authentic handmade jewellery, clothing and accessories (created by the best of the best artisans from across the SAARC nations).

“This kind of initiative to bring women entrepreneurs from different countries allows us to learn many things about the trade and help us showcase our products on a global scale, a key to marketing our business,” Tauhida Haider told IANS, speaking about her journey as a woman entrepreneur.

Exhibitions like these have helped her business get a new face in the world, said Haider, who also imports designer dresses from Kolkata for Bangladeshis.

According to SCWEC India chairperson Anuradha Goel, “the idea behind this exhibition was to showcase their products, traditions and develop women-related trade and friendly relations between the SAARC countries”.

The exhibition also felicitated grass-root entrepreneurs, the first in their countries, and have helped the community, Goel said.

For Karachi-based Nafisa Aslam, a member of SCWEC and owner of ‘Gimmick’ which offers traditional Pakistani wear, cultural exchanges like these have been helping her business a great deal.

“Having representatives from eight countries has enabled interactions about trade and practices followed by women in these countries. I have learnt a lot about traditional cuts in clothes which is followed in other countries,” Aslam told IANS.

Her store is a very colourful affair, with the latest trends in Pakistani clothing, including long shirts, cigarette pants and tunics in chinon chiffon and georgette, among others. “Pakistan has a lot of creativity for clothes,” she added.

Little would one imagine that Norway gets its shawls from Nepal!

Reeta Simha, who has been manufacturing natural Himalayan fabrics such as pashmina, and other fabrics for home furnishings and saris, is also the first woman entrepreneur in her family, like Haider. She has been exporting the products of her enterprise to Japan, Norway and other nations.

Simha and Haider were also awarded by this years’ SCWEC prize for being the first women entrepreneurs in their respective nations for setting ways and a living for other women.

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