Entrepreneurship Makes Women Independent: Arifa Jan, Award winning Handicrafts Entrepreneur

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Young and dynamic Arifa Jan is known for reviving the Kashmiri art of rug making known as Namda.She graduated from the Craft Development Institute, Srinagar and she was involved in a project based on Namda textiles. Namda rugs have been made since the 11th century and they are not woven but felted; layers of wool fibre are beaten together and then brightly embroidered. Arifa Jan Jan became one of what was called the "Magnificent Seven". These were seven women chosen to handle the Prime Minister's account on Women's Day. The others were Chennai-based social worker Sneha Mohandoss, bomb blast survivor Malvika Iyer, Kashmiri Numdha mushroom farmer Bina Devi, urban water conservationist Kalpana Ramesh, Maharashtra Banjara handicraft promotor Vijaya Pawar and lady mason Kalavati Devi. On the same day she was given the Nari Shakti Puraskar.President Ram Nath Kovind awarded her one of twelve awards. The awards were made on International Women's Day in New Delhi. In an exclusive interview with Heaven Mail, Arifa Jan talks to Rameez Makhdoomi. A bit about your school days? My school days was boring because couldn't find many interesting activities .So you can say they were normal not quite out of box . How was college life like ? I choose B.Com and completed my B.Com at Nawakadal women college . The college life was quite good. Where did you get idea of reviving Kashmiri rug Namada? After completion of my B.com, I decided to stop my studies but fortunately I met one of my College colleague and she counselled me about the course CMEL "Craft Management and Entrepreneurial Leadership programme and then I cleared all the exams in which I was lucky to be selected among only 5 students out of 20. This was the turning point of my life where I found totally new way of getting education and learnings. At Craft Development Institute, I was able to get insights about handicraft of Kashmir and I found that: What handicraft means for us.How much it is important for us.What are those factors which declined its image day by day. What handicraft was then and now why is it facing problems . I found that not only handicraft sector was suffering but our craftsmen also suffered a lot then I decided that whatever I will do, I will do only in Kashmir. I choose Numda Revival project at the completion of my studies A bit about Nari purskar you got ? My hardwork and my efforts got me rewarded this prestigious award in 2021 and it really made me proud that I did something good in my life but it's a beginning of a long journey towards acheiving excellence not an end A bit on your manufacturing facilities? I don't have full-fledged manufacturing unit that's why I am facing too many problems because when one doesn't have a proper manufacturing unit it makes me dependent on other organisations which are not mostly available on time whenever I require their facilities . How important it is for women to learn basic arts? It's very very important for a women to learn basic arts whoever wish to become an entrepreneur because it gives her hold on each level where she can make a remarkable success . Women through determination can achieve much . What is your take on scenario of our artisans ? No doubt, the Government is taking multiple steps to promote interests of artisans and entrepreneurs, but still the people associated with Handicrafts face lot of problems on economic side especially when uncertain situations like Pandemic or global meltdown. The piling up of unsold stocks causes great hardships to both entrepreneurs and artisans. Your message to women ? Entrepreneurship is the path where a woman can get a great respect in the society and make her own identity in the world. This path makes her independent.

Young and dynamic Arifa Jan is known for reviving the Kashmiri art of rug making known as Namda.She graduated from the Craft Development Institute, Srinagar and she was involved in a project based on Namda textiles. Namda rugs have been made since the 11th century and they are not woven but felted; layers of wool fibre are beaten together and then brightly embroidered.
Arifa Jan Jan became one of what was called the “Magnificent Seven”. These were seven women chosen to handle the Prime Minister’s account on Women’s Day. The others were Chennai-based social worker Sneha Mohandoss, bomb blast survivor Malvika Iyer, Kashmiri Numdha mushroom farmer Bina Devi, urban water conservationist Kalpana Ramesh, Maharashtra Banjara handicraft promotor Vijaya Pawar and lady mason Kalavati Devi.

On the same day she was given the Nari Shakti Puraskar.President Ram Nath Kovind awarded her one of twelve awards. The awards were made on International Women’s Day in New Delhi.
In an exclusive interview with Heaven Mail, Arifa Jan talks to Rameez Makhdoomi.

A bit about your school days?

My school days was boring because couldn’t find many interesting activities .So you can say they were normal not quite out of box .

How was college life like ?

I choose B.Com and completed my B.Com at Nawakadal women college . The college life was quite good.

Where did you get idea of reviving Kashmiri rug Namada?

After completion of my B.com, I decided to stop my studies but fortunately I met one of my College colleague and she counselled me about the course CMEL “Craft Management and Entrepreneurial Leadership programme and then I cleared all the exams in which I was lucky to be selected among only 5 students out of 20. This was the turning point of my life where I found totally new way of getting education and learnings.

At Craft Development Institute, I was able to get insights about handicraft of Kashmir and I found that:
What handicraft means for us.How much it is important for us.What are those factors which declined its image day by day. What handicraft was then and now why is it facing problems .

I found that not only handicraft sector was suffering but our craftsmen also suffered a lot then I decided that whatever I will do, I will do only in Kashmir. I choose Numda Revival project at the completion of my studies

A bit about Nari purskar you got ?

My hardwork and my efforts got me rewarded this prestigious award in 2021 and it really made me proud that I did something good in my life but it’s a beginning of a long journey towards acheiving excellence not an end

A bit on your manufacturing facilities?

I don’t have full-fledged manufacturing unit that’s why I am facing too many problems because when one doesn’t have a proper manufacturing unit it makes me dependent on other organisations which are not mostly available on time whenever I require their facilities .

How important it is for women to learn basic arts?

It’s very very important for a women to learn basic arts whoever wish to become an entrepreneur because it gives her hold on each level where she can make a remarkable success . Women through determination can achieve much .
What is your take on scenario of our artisans ?
No doubt, the Government is taking multiple steps to promote interests of artisans and entrepreneurs, but still the people associated with Handicrafts face lot of problems on economic side especially when uncertain situations like Pandemic or global meltdown. The piling up of unsold stocks causes great hardships to both entrepreneurs and artisans.

Your message to women ?
Entrepreneurship is the path where a woman can get a great respect in the society and make her own identity in the world. This path makes her independent.

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