Examples and Programmes around the World
Empowerment with Traditional Crafts

In a dusty village near Jaipur, in India, 15 families, spanning three generations, use discarded cotton rags and waste paper to create an all-natural paper. There are many such paper-making families in India. They use their skills to keep them from abject poverty. However the returns for their labour need to be multiplied by the intervention of governments and agencies. The policy of the Indian Government to support cottage industries has helped to increase profits substantially. The value of exports from handmade paper now stands at US2.5 million annually. UNDP has contributed to the modernization of the Kumarappa National Hand-made Paper Institute that now offers training and laboratory testing to ensure that the industry produces good quality products for export. This is an example of how the traditional skills of poor people can be used to raise them out of poverty. This is achieved with the support of governnent policies, international marketing strategies, and the support of an international agency to maintain quality and market promotion.

Source: Prepared from: Choices: The Human Development Magazine, UNDP 1997.