The women — cooperative from the village make a contribution to the adult education project by using their craftsmanship. In August 2015, I visited the village and taught the women of the local cooperative how to make flowers and cushions using felt. I did this because I am convinced that in order to encourage sustainable development, you have to educate adults and also provide support for their economy on a small scale.
The flowers and cushions are made from local sheep’s wool. The women wash and card the wool in their own village. Flowers bear a special meaning for Ladakhi people. You can see them everywhere in their gardens. They love the dash of colours in the midst of the arid, mountainous landscape. For trekkers, felt flowers and cushions are authentic souvenirs from the village.
The village women knit thick wool socks during the winter time using sheep’s wool which they process themselves. The naturally brown and black wool is spun into fairly thick and soft threads. The knitted socks are embellished with cross-stitch patterns. The socks are then combined with leather soles and enhanced with a felt insert. These warm slippers can be easily stowed away in a rucksack and are ideal companions during Trekking tours and hiking excursions. The locals wear them as traditional, comfortable slippers during the winter time.
Importance of sales for the women
The sale of flowers, cushions and slippers means a lot to the women. They are very proud to be able to sell their self-made handicraft products. As a result, they feel they are appreciated. The earnings give them a certain financial independence and so support the aims of the cooperative. In addition, the earnings also provide a contribution towards winter schooling.