Toyi Swuro (extreme left) with his friends -- Kudengoyi Lohe, Thupudayi Chizo and Muralho -- at Craft Gallery in Phek district of Nagaland

Guwahati: Toyi Swuro has always been fond of shoes. While putting up in a small room in his native Phek town in Nagaland, the 25-year-old youth would often repair footwear for poor school kids who could not afford them, free of cost.

In between, Swuro would also take up odd jobs of shoe repair in his neighbourhood to earn some pocket money. When he finally saved about Rs 2,300 — a big sum for a small town like Phek — he finally decided to open ‘Fine Cobbler’, a footwear store in the area.

Some of the finished products made by Toyi Swuro displayed at Craft Gallery in Phek, Nagaland

Swuro came up with the idea in July last year. With the demand growing for his finished products, the youngster later recruited three of his friends, Kudengoyi Lohe, Thupudayi Chizo and Muralho — all school dropouts — and a woman business partner, Votalu Luruo, and renamed the shop, Craft Gallery. They now produce accessories like earrings and wallets, apart from footwear.

“We opened this shop purely with the intention to produce locally-produced footwear and other accessories to meet our daily needs,” the diploma-holder in hotel management told EastMojo.

The five-member team of Craft Gallery is also involved in imparting self-defence classes to girls in the town under the ‘Beti Bachao Beti Padhao’ initiative

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Currently, the team also imparts training to local students to repair their own shoes. With the help of the district administration, the team now also offers a self-defence course for girls in a government residential girls’ hostel in Phek under the government’s ‘Beti Bachao Beti Padhao’ campaign.

The five-member group is setting an example for a lot of youths from the state by utilising their skills and turning it into a profitable business venture, that too with minimal investment.

Toyi Swuro (right) with his business partner Votalu Luruo at Craft Gallery in Phek, Nagaland

“It’s high time we start to embrace the art of humility rather than sitting in our comfort zones and debating through social media as keyboard warriors about changes,” added Swuro.

With their impressive final products, the team is now garnering attention from people around the state. Also, they have now started to export their footwear and accessories to other districts of Nagaland like Dimapur, Kohima, Wokha and Mokokchung.

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