Control Arms Foundation of India along with Manipur Women Gun Survivors Network is organising an exhibition cum sale from 12 November to 23rd November at Dilli Haat, INA, New Delhi. This exhibition is a part of Women of India Exhibition which is being organised by the Ministry of Women and Child Development, Government of India and this exhibition was inaugurated by the Union Minister of Women and Child Development, Smt. Maneka Sanjay Gandhi and the Union Minister of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare, Shri Radha Mohan Singh on 13th November, 2015.
In this 10 days long exhibition, some of the products of the market will be trying to popularise are enaphi (a shawl wrapped around the shoulders), phanek (wrap/sarong), and leiroom (a hand-woven scarf used on ceremonial occasions). A large selection of bamboo products like lamps, trays, holders and baskets will be on display, as are products from different ethnic of Manipur.
The objective of this exhibition is to take the beautiful arts and crafts of women of Manipur and Northeast to a larger audience and in long run bring peace in Northeast region. Despite Manipur having skilled artisans in the handicraft sector, many women remain poor as they do not have any link to the domestic and international markets. The aim of this exhibition is to take their products to a larger audience. This is a humble initiative by Control Arms Foundation of India and Manipur Women Gun Survivors to provide livelihood and acts as a healing touch to the fractured lives of women and children so that their lives can go on with a new found courage.
According to founder of Manipur Women Gun Survivors Network Ms Binalakshmi Nepram who conceptualised the work to start empowering women in conflict affected areas of Manipur and Northeast Region, “the exhibition is the first in Dilli Haat where design prototypes of women survivors are being showcased. It will go a long way in ensuring that when we economically empower women we empower a community a state & region and herald in peace and development in India Northeast Region.”
The support given by UNDP India was done to ensure design prototypes are developed as a part of project to strengthen women economic livelihood of women survivors below poverty line.
Manipur Women Gun Survivors Network and the Control Arms Foundation of India was formed to help women whose lives have been changed dramatically by violence in Northeast India particularly Manipur; to find solutions to end the ongoing violence and to provide a space for women to take a leading role in gender sensitive peace and security advocacy efforts.
The Network has been working in 300 villages with women survivors of violence that belongs to the most vulnerable and marginalized section of both hills and valleys of Manipur mostly widows. In 2014 alone, Manipur recorded a total of 20,000 registered widows. The network is providing humanitarian and livelihood support in a varied ways by imparting trainings, capacity building and handholding for the last 7 years.
The focus of the programme is the economic empowerment of underprivileged and violence affected women through skill development.