DHADING, Oct 14: For Surendra Prasad Tripathi of Malekhu at Benighat Rorang Rural Municipality-3 in Dhading district, fetching jungle wastes and making handicraft out of them is a daily routine. Working from the comforts of his home, he makes Rs 40,000 a month.
"Through training and practice, I have acquired this skill to make handicraft items," he said, "Earlier, people did not understand the importance of handicraft, but nowadays the scenario is different. It is everyone's choice."
He had received a 3-month-long training from the Department of Cottage and Small Industries in 2000. The training opened up a new path for him, and he started on the trade as a means of livelihood. He worked with different handicraft producers in Kathmandu for about six years. At that time, people used to prefer plastic goods over handcrafted material. "Hard work pays off, and I have always persevered to do hard work," Tripathi said.
For his handicraft products, Tripathi uses parts of pine tree and half-dried roots, which he brings from the jungle of Kampur. Toys like birds, lions and deer are made from it. He makes about 30 pieces in five days. These items are sold from Rs 700 to Rs 4000 per piece. He sends his products to the markets of Kathmandu, Nawalparasi, and Chitwan. He even sells it in various local fairs. People buy his products to use as gift items.
In 2005, he even went to Qatar for foreign employment. He returned after working there for two year, hoping to find luck in handicraft at home. "If we have skill in our hands, then there is employment opportunity within this country. We need not go abroad," he said, "Now I am even capable to provide training for others."
"Bamboos are available in 72 districts of Nepal, but due to lack of proper utilization, it is mostly wasted. If we have the proper skills to make handicraft items out of it, it can be a good source of livelihood for many families," Tripathi said, adding: "The government needs to think of promoting this craft, provide training, and promote market."
"The skills learned in foreign countries can be applied in our own nation with good quality, and new products can be developed," he said. "It will help in boosting our economy."
"The demand of handcrafted materials is on the rise in the country. People use it to decorate their homes," he added. "Our products will find huge market overseas as well, if planned and marketed properly. It is not only an occupation, it is an art. We need to support this art."