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