Rangijhora, Chirang, Assam, January 09, 2017: With a view to encouraging ecologically appropriate livelihoods that reduce the dependence of local communities on wild habitats, IFAW-WTI, in association with the Bodoland Territorial Council (BTC) and Assam Forest Department, inaugurated a community managed learning and weaving centre for Bodo women weavers on January 6.
Named the ‘Manas Kanamakra Weaving Centre’, the facility was inaugurated in the presence of Mr Ind Raj, IC, Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB), Rangijhora Camp; Mr Abinash Basumatary, Range Officer – Kuklung, Manas Tiger Reserve; Mr Gajen Daimary, Village Head, Rangijhora; members of IFAW-WTI’s Greater Manas Conservation Project team; as well as trainers, trainees and other villagers.
“Our handloom will bring us dignity and earnings, and generate a widespread respect for our traditional skill and culture.”
Addressing the attendees after the inauguration ceremony, Mr Abinash Basumatary said: “Both handlooms and Manas are part of the identity of the Bodo community, and a matter of pride for the BTC. I thank IFAW-WTI for setting up this community managed centre.”
“There is tremendous pressure exerted by local communities on forest resources and we are in danger of losing our rich natural heritage if things continue this way. This centre is a step in the right direction,” opined Mr Ind Raj of the SSB.
“We must have patience to wait for results; our handloom will bring us dignity and earnings, and generate a widespread respect for our traditional skill and culture”, said Ms Nandini Muchahary, a trainer from Aagor Daagra Afad, a women weavers’ organisation set up by the Action Northeast Trust (ANT) in Assam.
The inaugural function was followed by a presentation by IFAW-WTI Assistant Manager Mr Sanatan Deka, on some of the salient activities conducted under the Bringing Back Manas initiative over the last decade.