21 Emirati Craftswomen Graduate form Irthi’s Skills Exchange Programme

21 Emirati Craftswomen Graduate form Irthi’s Skills Exchange Programme

Sharjah:Irthi Contemporary Crafts Council, an affiliate of NAMA Women Advancement Establishment (NAMA), recently organised a ceremony for the first batch of graduates who participated in Irthi’s Artisan Skills Exchange programme. 

Launched in April 2018 under the umbrella of Irthi’s Bidwa Social Development Programme, the Skills Exchange Programme aimed to encourage the exchange of skills and techniques with craftspeople from around the world.

The graduation ceremony was attended by HE Reem BinKaram, Director of NAMA, representatives of government departments in Dibba Al Hisn, Irthi staff and the graduates’ families.

In the first phase of the programme and for fifteen months, 21 Emirati trainees learnt the arts of Pakistani embroidery from 16 Pakistani artisans, who were tutored by renowned fashion designer Rizwan Beyg. In return, the Pakistani artisans were introduced to traditional UAE crafts, namely: Safeefah (palm frond weaving) and Talli (handwoven braids).

Given the remarkable development of the participants’ skills, Irthi launched an advanced embroidery course in January 2019, which offered the participants hands-on embroidery training on ready-made garments.

In her speech during the ceremony, HE Reem BinKaram stressed that fulfilling the graduation requirements by the first batch of trainees was a significant step in nurturing their expertise and skillsets. She noted that the programme was an ideal opportunity to make the most of Pakistani craftswomen’s experiences.

“The programme is part of our objectives that seek to bolster women’s partnership in furthering development, sustainability, progress, justice and gender equity. If we assess the status of Emirati women in this process and their role in an array of success stories, we will find that they are inspiring other women and generations,” she added.

The Director of NAMA remarked that the support of Her Highness Sheikha Jawaher bint Mohammed Al Qasimi, wife of His Highness the Ruler of Sharjah, Chairperson of NAMA, Founder and Royal Patron of Irthi, had an immense impact on women’s empowerment in all walks of life. She pointed out that the graduation was not the end but the beginning of production, creativity and partnerships.

For her part, Hajar Al Beloushi, representative of the first batch of graduates, said that the Artisan Skills Exchange programme is a great opportunity for every craftswoman who seeks excellence and wishes to showcase her creativity and capabilities.

“The programme offered us the opportunity to explore the novelties of fashion design, starting with embroidery stitches and ending with colour cohesion. Apart from embroidery, we learnt designing and other professional and social skills like patience, precision, communication and team building,” Hajar added.

The Irthi Contemporary Crafts Council aims to further elevate the role of women, as well as enhance their participation in the crafts sector through social development programmes and vocational training. It seeks to support and enable craftswomen to develop and market their products through developing new market opportunities.

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