There is no shortage of talent in Pakistan. However, there is a serious dearth of recognition. The local artists and the handicrafts industry in the country suffers from the lack of care and genuine interest in the items. Talent, the skill to beautifully craft things is passed down from generations, often getting lost in the process when people are forced to resort to other means for survival.
Adorn – Artisans Development Online Retail Network, is one social enterprise ensuring a proper future for the local artists. The network came into being solely for the purpose of providing support to the artists and promoting their work through social media. This way, a genuine interest in their products is created and a proper channel to market those goods both nationally and internationally is formed. As a result most of earnings and benefits find their way to the pockets of the artists, not the middle dealers.
Adorn partners with various NGOs working in Pakistan particularly with women and children, teaching them valuable skills that can help them run their household. The list of products available by Adorn includes quilts, home accents, children’s bedding and other gift items.
Last week Adorn held an exhibition ‘A Revival of Craft’ featuring the work of the local artists. A number of NGOs participated and displayed their handicrafts. Organizations like Development In Literacy – DIL, SABAH Pakistan, Ra’ana Liaquat Craftsmen’s Colony – RLCC, Indus Resource Centre, Thardeep Rural Development Programme and Aik Hunar Aik Nagar – AHAN.
Once I entered the building, it was like stepping into a completely different world. The wide array of colours left me speechless. The beautiful bags, embroidered clothes, pouches, accessories made my wallet scream in protest. Stalls each bearing the name of the organization proudly exhibited their good and scores of starry eyed women made circles around each buying whatever they could.
My heart set on this gorgeous blue handbag by AHAN, which I unfortunately didn’t buy. But someone in front of me did, and I silently implored them to take care of it.
Creating a proper market for handmade goods which have a demand all over the world is a great way of connecting the artists with their buyers. This way not only do the artists reap maximum benefits for their hard work, the buyers too can be sure of the authenticity of the items they buy. This also is a great way of bringing to light the tremendous potential a country like Pakistan has and can offer if given half the chance.