Aaranyak’s initiative in eastern Assam districts, in collaboration with the British Asian Trust and with support from the Darwin Initiative, is enhancing human-elephant coexistence.
This community-driven effort focuses on weaving gamochas with elephant motifs, showcasing the significance of elephants in the ecosystem and folklore.
In a press release from Aaranyak, the biodiversity organisation stated, “Aaranyak has launched an initiative to provide high-quality yarn as well as training to women handloom weavers from the community.”
Aaranyak further stated that over 200 households in districts such as Jorhat, Sivasagar, Majuli, Dibrugarh, and Tinsukia have received yarn support, with 65 weavers from Jorhat, 68 from Sivasagar, 71 from Majuli, 65 from Dibrugarh, and 11 from Tinsukia benefiting from training to enhance the quality of their products. Each weaver received 5 kgs of high-quality yarn, contributing to an average monthly income of around Rs 5,000 per household, it added.
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Majuli, the world’s largest inhabited river island, has a rich cultural heritage, including a handloom weaving tradition practiced by the Mishing tribe. Aaranyak stated that it has supported weavers like Rina Doley, who previously had limited access to yarn and faced challenges in their occupation. According to Aaranyak, weavers have been able to diversify their product range and create sustainable, eco-friendly products, attracting a broader customer base.
The initiative has not only improved the livelihoods of weavers but has also allowed them to support their families, invest in education and healthcare, and contribute to the coexistence of humans and elephants in the region.
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