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Women in Assam weave their way out of climate change woes

Updated : January 31, 2019 04:10 PM IST

The North-East Affected Area Development Society (NEADS), an Assam-based nonprofit, has teamed up with the state sericulture department to revive the power of handlooms as a form of climate change adaptation. “Weaving emerged as a natural livelihood choice for these women as they are traditionally skilled in this occupation. Almost each home has a loom,” said Tirtha Prasad Saikia, joint director of NEADS.

NEADS is now working with about 2,500 women in 28 villages in Sadiya sub-division, organised into 20 weaving collectives. The programme was launched in 2012 with a handful of women, after the area was hit by severe floods, destroying crops. NEADS subsidised their purchases of yarn, upgraded their loom skills through expert training, and offered advice from designers on fashionable colours and patterns, said Saikia.

A woman rears silkworms at home in Assam. (HANDOUT/North-East Affected Area Development Society)
A woman rears silkworms at home in Assam. (HANDOUT/North-East Affected Area Development Society)
A village woman weaves a traditional mekhl chador at her home. (HANDOUT/North-East Affected Area Development Society)
A village woman weaves a traditional mekhl chador at her home. (HANDOUT/North-East Affected Area Development Society)
A group of women from No. 1 Sonowal village in Tinsukia district are on the lookout for daily wage work. (THOMSON REUTERS FOUNDATION/Moushumi Basu)
A group of women from No. 1 Sonowal village in Tinsukia district are on the lookout for daily wage work. (THOMSON REUTERS FOUNDATION/Moushumi Basu)
A woman weaves traditional clothing. (HANDOUT/North-East Affected Area Development Society)
A woman weaves traditional clothing. (HANDOUT/North-East Affected Area Development Society)
Silk yarn is extracted from a cocoon. (HANDOUT/North-East Affected Area Development Society)
Silk yarn is extracted from a cocoon. (HANDOUT/North-East Affected Area Development Society)
Silkworms feed on leaves in Assam. (HANDOUT/North-East Affected Area Development Society)
Silkworms feed on leaves in Assam. (HANDOUT/North-East Affected Area Development Society)
Women weave colourful traditional Assam attire in their village. (THOMSON REUTERS FOUNDATION/Moushumi Basu)
Women weave colourful traditional Assam attire in their village. (THOMSON REUTERS FOUNDATION/Moushumi Basu)
Colourful womenswear woven by village women is put out on display. (THOMSON REUTERS FOUNDATION/Moushumi Basu)
Colourful womenswear woven by village women is put out on display. (THOMSON REUTERS FOUNDATION/Moushumi Basu)
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