Nagaland: Li Cheh Kro Weavers Producer Company Limited launched
‘Look beyond the preservation and promotion of our culture by focusing on skills development‘
Kohima/ Dimapur, Aug. 27 (EMN): In what may boost textile production in the state, women weavers from several villages have come together and launched Li Cheh Kro Weavers Producer Company Limited, a first of its kind in Nagaland.
Owned by artisans from several villages namely Chizami, Thetsumi, Enhulumi, Mesulumi, Sumi and Chizami town under Chizami Block in Phek district, the producer organisation (PO) was launched on Friday at North East Network (NEN) Resource Centre in Chizami in the presence of Phek Deputy Commissioner Razouvolie Dozo, and General Manager of Regional Office NABARD in Dimapur, Tiakala Ao.
Derived from Khezha dialect, “Li Cheh” means “creativity from the core or the soul” and “Kro” means “a collective or a group of people coming together”, informed Neitshopeu Thopi, Programme Associate (NEN).
‘The PO is named “Li Cheh Kro” as it will bring weavers together from different villages, to collectively engage in creative pursuit towards a successful, self-reliant business enterprise. As weaving involves the creativity of the mind, hands and minds, we found this name apt for the PO,’ she told Eastern Mirror.
“Creativity isn’t solely about creation of new products and designs, but is a vital skill for any successful business or project. It helps in problem solving, sparks innovation, enable productivity, builds solidarity,” she added.
‘Look beyond preservation and promotion’
While acknowledging the collaborative effort of NEN and NABARD for facilitating and funding the venture, Phek DC underlined the need to “look beyond the preservation and promotion of our culture by focusing on skills development and capacity building”, said an update from NEN.
“We also need to produce quality products, collaborate with designers, and create marketing linkages to move towards the right direction of self-reliance,” Dozo was quoted as saying.
Tiakala Ao told the gathering that the launch of Li Cheh Kro Weavers Producer Company ‘is a red-letter day for all Naga women, who have been preserving and protecting our cultural heritage through weaving’.
Lamenting the drying weaving tradition in the state with less women taking up the craft in the past several decades, Ao stressed on the need to take firm steps to support the tradition and make it a sustainable livelihood by providing appropriate capacity building trainings such as entrepreneurial and managerial skills, building collectives to leverage their income, etc.
She told the weavers that “through this partnership with NEN, I hope to see our women weavers rise to take the rightful place they so deserve and not just become successful entrepreneurs but successful preservers of our cultural heritage”.
State Coordinator (Interim), NEN, Rhondeni Kikon said at the launch event that NEN, as the Producer Organisation Promoting Institution (POPI) of the weavers’ company, which is supported by NABARD, would focus on its formation and nurturing in the next three years.
‘It is NEN’s aspiration that Li Cheh Kro Weavers Producer Company Limited will pave the pathway in forming larger collectives in the coming years,’ she said, adding that ‘through this partnership with NABARD, the network aims to build weavers’ collective institution to promote self-reliance’.
‘It seeks to nurture women weavers’ leadership and capacity as owners and managers of their enterprise. NEN envisages the weavers’ producer organisation to act as a platform to market hand-woven textile products in enhancing the economy of local communities,’ she added.
VDB secretary of Chizami village, Colo Mero lauded NABARD for believing in NEN and the community and investing in the region which would greatly benefit not only the women weavers but also many homes.
‘Initiating, nurturing and handing over an organisation to the weavers is a big testimony of NEN,’ he said, while encouraging the members to take the company forward.
Koneiu Lohe, a weaver and a member of the board of directors of the company said: “As a weaver, to be able to own a company like Li Cheh Kro Weavers Producers Company is a landmark achievement for me and the other weavers and I feel very proud to be associated with it.”
She called on NEN and NABARD to extend continued support and take the company to a greater height.
The foundation stone for construction of Common Facility Centre (CFC) was also laid by the DC of Phek at NEN Resource Centre during the launch event. It was followed by an exhibition of Chizami weaves at the VTC Hall in NEN campus and a session on ‘Team Building and Leadership Development’.
It was informed that the launch event was attended by government officials, village leaders, NGOs, CBOs and members of the weavers’ company.
The update informed that the company has five Board of Directors and five members elected from amongst the weavers. A Project Monitoring and Review Committee (PMRC) has been constituted comprising representatives from NEN; senior officer of NABARD, Nagaland Regional Office; DDM of Phek; lead district/local banker, district industries, and OFPO board member.
It went on to add that the PMRC would at least meet quarterly to review the progress of the project, guide the execution and make recommendation for release of grant by the end of every quarter.