I started in 1993 to make handicraft dolls in the village of TGD together with the village girls. The effort was based upon available resources and a respect for the local tradition. Especially the hand-made dolls representing the dresses of the different provinces and minorities became very popular.
Only scarce information was available at that time about these groups and their dresses and obtaining the relevant materials was also a problem. Detailed field studies were needed to obtain and organize the required information, which was quite expensive.
It was very important for the project, which was initially supposed to be only a women project, to feel and sense the local peculiarities, abilities and skills.
I lived between 1993 and 1998 on invitation of the village elders in the village and trained about 120 women, who practically started to earn some income right from the start through increasing sale of their products in the provincial capitals. But never were and are the NGO-Members dependent upon the project, as only additional income is generated. The village women already have a house for residence and agricultural land, so that the additional income enables them and their families to remain in the village and not move to cities, where life continues to become more expensive and paid work keeps shrinking.
This project is meant to provide for income of women in the rural areas. The daughters have grown up in the meanwhile and since 1998 also young men from the village are integrated into the project and are engaged –among others- with the use of appropriate technology.
The products have been regularly developed further with the help of volunteers from Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Australia and New Zealand. The NGO Members on the other hand have participated in Workshops in Dubai, Germany and Iceland and contributed in this way to the aims and objects of the effort.
Changes in political situation have necessitated a flexible approach: Nuclear tests, economic changes and local disputes have led to a decrease in sales, which has affected the locals as well as foreigners. The number of Melas has also decreased due to well known reasons. It is necessary to react quickly to changes, so that products were also offered to collectors and other customers, even if the number of orders were small and meant for customers in Japan, Australia, North America and Europe.
The success of the dolls project led to invitations in other countries, so that today women in Cameroon (since 1998) Columbia (since 1999), Iceland, Greece and Germany are also making dolls. The undressed dolls for Europe are made in our village in Pakistan.
With the help of volunteers we were also able to support the project by selling various dolls to ethnological museums in Europe.
I often receive letters and calls and my well-wishers ask me about my whereabouts. Dear Friends, customers and collectors, of course I have not forgotten you. The current intensive but very interesting work in the German project reminds me of the years between 1993 and 1998, which were not possible without the support and help of local and foreign volunteers.
The technological advances of today make many things easier, so that time zones are bridged and you can easily reach me by eMail
and Skype and information can be broadcast through the Internet Radio of TGD
, as well as the Thatta Kedona blog
In the hope to be together with you and wishing all success to our village women through you purchases and interest in the project, I look forward to seeing you again, - in Pakistan or in Germany, in reality or virtually !
We try to sense future developments in our projects, including ground-breaking concepts to conserve energy. The motto here remains: Words must be followed by actions, so that active environmental protection can be carried out !!
I greet you heartily once again and remain
Labels: Dr. Senta Siller, Thatta Kedona
posted by S A J Shirazi @ Monday, October 03, 2011,
maleeha khan said...
very very nice!!
Maggie Allen 16 April at 12:35
I have read the blog and thanks for sharing it...yes I think I knew about these dolls before, a great woman and women making these dolls to make better lives for themselves. Ingenuity at it's finest...Amazing what people can achieve together. We are all so capable of so much but some have let themselves forget this important fact. Is there a web site to sell these dolls on? Thanksand Blessings fron the UK...Ascot Berks. : )
But where is Dr. Senta Siller? Is she well?
Ya, she is perfectly well. Busy on a new project in Germany. Teaching different handicraft skills to German women.
You are a Queen of Dolls and hearts as you have won so many of them.
It was about 12 years back that I came to Dolls Village and that became a special day of my life. The charm gripped me from the very entrance of the village. The doll’s house (vocational training centre) was a peaceful place with love and happiness abounding. I was directed towards a room whose furniture was a table of plain cement on which dolls, toys and art material was placed. A simple room with beautiful setting but the most beautiful moment was a lady standing up with a sincere smile and it appeared as if an angel has stood in front of me.
That happiness I found all around the village. It’s indeed a model village and you are queen with the magic wand who transformed it all.
God bless you.
From: Husain Qazi
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