Aajeevika handicraft Mela in New Delhi from April 14 to 23
Art & Culture ,
News - India & You
For the empowerment of the rural youth
The Ministry of Rural Development, Government of India, presents a ten day exhibition in the national capital, New Delhi, under its National Rural Livelihood Mission, or Aajeevika. This is an occasion for the rural producers to reap the benefits of their hard work and for the city dwellers to reacquaint themselves with the traditional products of different Indian states…
From April 14, 2017 to April 23, 2017, New Delhi will be brimming with thousand and one colours of India, as hundreds of rural workers are present in the national capital to showcase and sell their products.
The Ministry of Rural Development (MoRD) has organised a ten day exhibition, called the Aajeevika Mela, at Pragati Maidan in New Delhi. The Mela is organised under their National Rural Livelihood Mission (NRLM), which aims at fighting poverty by the means of providing sustainable livelihood to people through various skilling programmes. It caters to the occupational aspirations of the poor rural youth and gives them an opportunity to enter the skilled workforce of the economy.
Of shopping and discovering India
The Mela is also aimed at creating awareness among the urbanites about the existence of various local products of different Indian states. Many, for example, may not be aware of the leather puppetry from the southern Indian state of Andhra Pradesh, where perforated puppets, lampshades, wall hangings and other decorative products are made with transparent goat or deer leather, which is then hand-painted with vegetable dyes. Otherwise an expensive handicraft, these products are available at rather affordable prices at the Mela, to reach a wider audience of varying disposable income.
From wooden art, bamboo baskets, traditional trinkets, hand-woven saris, woollen carpets, traditional paintings like miniature art or Madhubani paintings, to even organic spices and dried fruits, hand-made kitchenware, ethnic accessories and dresses: the visitors will be spoilt for choices.
The Mela not only offers a shopping experience, but also an opportunity for the buyers to meet the faces behind these meticulously made products. The stall-keepers willingly explain to the keen visitors the process of the art. Many sellers also keep some samples to illustrate the various stages of the production, thus making it a truly enriching experience to go back home with.
Making women financially independent
Another interesting aspect of the Mela is that most of the stalls are kept by women, who themselves are the producers and the sellers. Media India Group caught up with R Vimala, CEO of the Maharashtra Rural Livelihood Mission (MRLM) that works under the National Rural Livelihood Mission of the Government of India. Present at the exhibition, she explains: “The government has set up this Mela so that women from various Self Help Groups are able to come here to showcase and sell their work. This forum, which offers more than 500 stalls, will encourage the women and help them come out of their poverty and have sustainable livelihoods. It is under the Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Grameen Kaushalya Yojana that women are trained in over 18 different sectors, from hospitality to computers to small trade management.”
R Vimala also shared the ministry’s future plans of setting up online shopping portals to give these workers a permanent platform to sell their products. Another project in the pipeline, as the CEO shares, is the creation of brick-and-mortar markets at popular tourist destinations for these workers.