Crafting a Brighter Future; Felt Handicraft

Published: Aug 29, 2023 Reading time: 4 minutes
Crafting a Brighter Future; Felt Handicraft
© Photo: Nitika Chalise

If you have a dream, don’t give up on it. Keep working hard, and you will eventually achieve your goals.

“I never thought that I would be able to make a living from my love of felt handicrafts,” Aarti said with a smile. “But now, I can see a bright future for myself and my family.”

Aarti woke up before dawn, her tired eyes heavy with sleepless nights. As she held her 11-month-old baby in her arms, she couldn't help but smile at the tiny face staring back at her. Aarti was a 29-year-old woman who had migrated with her in-laws' families from Nuwakot district to the bustling informal settlements of Balaju Municipality - 16 in search of better opportunities. Despite the challenges that came with living in such conditions, Aarti continued to persevere, determined to create a better future for her family.

Aarti and her husband worked tirelessly to make ends meet. He toiled as a day laborer and she ran a small grocery shop in their settlement. “It wasn’t easy at first,” Aarti recalled. “My husband and I worked long hours, but we barely made enough money to survive. But I never gave up hope.”

One day, Aarti's life took an unexpected turn. She received news that she had been selected to attend a skill development training program organized by the Federation of Women Entrepreneurs Association Nepal (FWEAN) and supported by People in Need, Helvetas Nepal and WHH under Urban Resilience project . This training would give her the opportunity to learn about felt handicraft and microenterprise development, opening up new avenues of income and growth.

“I was so excited,” Aarti said. “I had always been interested in felt handicraft, but I never had the opportunity to learn more about it. This training was a dream come true.”

Although Aarti was ecstatic about the opportunity, she was worried about leaving her baby behind. But her in-laws and husband reassured her, promising to take care of the baby while she attended the training. With their support, Aarti was able to fully focus on the training, absorbing every bit of knowledge and expertise shared with her.

Throughout the training, Aarti was introduced to the world of felt handicraft. She learned about the process of making felt, the techniques involved, and how to create basic felt handicraft items. It was a revelation for Aarti, who had previously received training on making dolls and cushions. She felt a connection to the material, an excitement she hadn't experienced before.

“The training was so informative,” Aarti said. “I learned so much, and I met so many amazing people. It was a truly transformative experience.”

But as the training came to an end, Aarti realized that the production house for felt handicraft was located far from her residence. This posed a challenge for her, as leaving her baby behind for long hours was not feasible. Determined to find a solution, Aarti reached out to the private sector, exploring opportunities for home-based work.

She maintained constant communication with the Felt Association representatives she had met during the training, seeking their guidance and support. Luckily, her efforts were met with positive responses. Aarti discovered that there were possibilities for home-based work in the felt handicraft industry. With this newfound hope, she began envisioning a career in felt handicraft.

Aarti knew that pursuing a career in felt handicraft would not only bring her immense creative satisfaction but also have the potential to generate substantial income. She was eager to expand her skills to an advanced level and explore the opportunities that lay ahead.

"If I am fortunate enough to find opportunities nearby," Aarti said with determination, "I am more than willing to embark on a career in felt handicraft. It holds the key to a better future for my family."

With her unwavering spirit, Aarti continued to explore avenues to advance her knowledge and expertise in the field. She aimed to establish her own small business and contribute to the growth of her community.

“I am so grateful for the opportunity I was given,” Aarti said. “This training has changed my life. I am now able to provide for my family, and I am able to pursue my passion. I am so excited for the future.”
Autor: Pushpa Ghale, Project Coordinator

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