April 08, 2009
Sharing ideas and talents with like-minded people and organizations is something Shikshamitra considers to be an important goal. In February, Shikshamitra teamed up with the handicraft unit at Calcutta Rescueto share some of our skills and ideas. We organized two workshops between the groups and plan to do more in the future.
On 10 February, 2009 a group of about 6 Shikshamitra students and two teachers visited the Calcutta Rescue handicraft unit near Soba Bazaar metro station. Riding the subway back and forth from Rashbehari was an experience in itself! We warmly greeted by the staff and craftspeople there. Each of the children went through the step-by-step process of making a small doll with wire, recycled cloth and thread. We were surprised to see how much work goes into one small doll, that fits neatly into your pocket in the end!
Then, on 19 February we hosted a workshop at Shikshamitra to share our knowledge of bookbinding with about four Calcutta Rescue craftspeople and four of the administrators. The workshop was led by Bali and two student assistants, Bikey and Boloram. Bali teaches the afterschool bookbinding course twice a week and it is heartwarming to see how students have gained a natural sense of pride and confidence from learning this new, useful skill. They call themselves, "Chetla Bookbinders!" Bali had prepared a slab of paper to be bound and then torn into smaller pads, so that each person could take home their own hand-bound diary with a cloth cover that same day. He gave basic instructions on how to make the various types of glue that are needed and worked with craftspeople from Calcutta Rescue to put a gauze binding on, get the cardboard covers cut to the right size and then neatly covered in cloth. He gave a demonstration on stitching the binding as well. We all shared a nice lunch together before saying goodbye. Everyone seemed very satisfied with the interactions that took place from these two sessions and reports from Calcutta Rescue say the organization has already started producing diaries as part of their popular handicraft range!
Here is Charlotte, an administrator for Calcutta Rescue, proudly showing off her diary!