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Unemployed Sikkim youth receive traditional Buddhist art training

ANI, March 15, 2010

Gangtok, Sikkim (India) -- Sikkim's Handicrafts and Handloom Department is imparting training to the unemployed youth in an attempt to promote and preserve ethnic Buddhist arts and crafts.

The institution is a unique combination of training-cum-production spread over 20 centres in Sikkim.

Boys and girls in the age group of 14 to 24 years, learn the skills of this traditional art to earn a living out of it and make their future bright.

"There are less opportunities in village. So in order to make our future bright I have come to this institution to learn the art. In this institution we are learning the basic skills and also receiving stipend at the same time," said Passand Bhutia, a trainee.

"After receiving training, we can work in this institution on a contract basis. We are learning more about our traditional art and also making our future bright," he added.

The youths are being trained in hand-woven carpets with traditional motifs, blankets, Angora and Lepcha woven shawls, 'thangka' paintings, woodcarvings, hand-painted masks and toys.

According to the Assistant Director Chozang Lepcha, the trainees receive a stipend of 700-900 rupees, which helps them become self-independent.

"All the trainees come either from our own city or from far-flung areas. They are either unemployed or school dropouts because of their poor economic conditions. Therefore government is providing them stipend depending on their period of training," said Chozang Lepcha.

"During the first year of their training, trainees receive a stipend of 700 rupees per month and after one year they receive 900 rupees per month. The stipend is given to them so that they can become independent and confident to earn a living," added Lepcha.

Directorate of Handloom and Handicraft, which was earlier known as the Palden Thondup Cottage Industries, was established in the year 1957 by the then king of Sikkim, Sir Tashi Namgyal.


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