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Youths engaging in skill development activities gains ground in Manipur

With the growing awareness, more and more youths in Manipur today are taking to local arts and skill development activities for employment and sources of livelihood.

ByDonald Sairem

Updated 22 May 2022, 7:06 pm

Youths engaging in skill development activities gains ground in Manipur
Youths engaging in skill development activities gains ground in Manipur

In what could be a strong push towards the state government’s vision to make Manipur self-sustained and a self-reliant state, many youths including students of the state have started engaging in skill development activities.

When it comes to skills in the handlooms and handicraft sectors, Manipur has always grabbed the attention of many across the world because of the artistic and aesthetic values of the local-made goods produced in the state.

This could be one of the several reasons many youths in the state today have shed their reluctance to venture into new work areas, with the growing awareness, and are now replaced with the dignity to work and not run after only government jobs.

The Imphal Free Press on Friday encountered a group of young women, a few as young as 16 years, of Chingamakha Maisnam Leikai in Imphal West district, who had gathered together and were receiving training in the field of Kouna craft at the local level.

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Kouna, a tall water reed grown in marsh and wetlands, in the past were especially used in making traditional mats and baskets for home use. In recent years, craftsmanship has evolved to a whole new level with Kouna baskets and bags of varied designs, sizes and shapes.It has gain popularity and is in high demand among domestic customers as well as outside the state.

In an interaction with this Imphal Free Press reporter, instructor of the Kouna craft training, Meikam Premila said that the young girls have been enthusiastic and learnt a lot without much difficulty so far in the two-month training that has reached only 15 days. She said that an ample amount of raw materials is available for Kouna craft in the state.

While there are three different types of the reed grown in Manipur, the one available in the summer is most suitable for producing items, the instructor said.

Premila further said that the demand for Kouna products is increasingly becoming high. Despite Kouna items being widely produced across the state, the demand still cannot be met. Therefore, engaging in Kouna craft can prove to be profitable if one is skilled and can dedicate their time, she added.

She said that a bunch of kouna can be woven into at least 10 bags; one can easily sustain economically by producing and selling Kouna products.

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One of the trainees, Nongmaithem Rojina said that skill development is highly necessary for the youths. “Earlier, I used to worry about being inexperienced; whether I would be able to make the intricate Kouna items. Now, I realised that one can learn and acquire the skills with practice,” she said.

Sagolsem Chaobi, who just completed her matriculation, said that she joined the training instead of simply remaining idle waiting for examination results. She said that such skill development training will create income channels and open avenues. They expressed the desire to carry on with the Kouna craft as a hobby or a source of income in the future as well.

“It makes us relaxed and learning the craft is more beneficial than indulging in unproductive activities,” they said with pride.

As Manipur slowly transitions from chasing government jobs towards entrepreneurship, it is likely that such skill development activities will help thousands of unemployed number of people in the state find different sources of income. It will facilitate in making Manipur equipped with a skilled workforce and self-sustained in the future.

 

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First published:21 May 2022, 3:17 am

Tags:

arthandicraftkouna

Donald Sairem

Donald Sairem

IFP Reporter, IMPHAL, Manipur

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