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Craft women continue to retool their skills

Craft women continue to retool their skills
Some of the participants from Barrouallie, women and craft displaying their creations

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Twenty more women have graduated from the rebranding of the craft industry as the National Cultural Foundation (NCF) plays its role in retooling women whose livelihoods have been significantly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Craft women continue to retool their skills
Some more of the women and craft workshop participants posing with their certificates

The graduation ceremony for the “Artistic Approach to Covid-19” Women and Craft workshop took place on Thursday, December 3, 2020. The funding for the workshop was made possible through the Canada Fund for Local Initiatives (CFLI) through the Canadian High Commission, Barbados in partnership with the Department of Culture and the National Cultural Foundation (NCF).

Speaking at the graduation ceremony, Chairman of NCF, Wollis Christopher, expressed gratitude to the CFLI and the participants for successfully completing the exercise. Christopher said the workshop came about because of the COVID-19 pandemic which turned the world upside down. Many women involved in tourism were left without incomes, Christopher stated. He acknowledged the contribution of former Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Tourism, Laverne Grant, who had seen the CFLI advertisement and encouraged them to apply for funding hence the Women and Craft initiative.

Craft women continue to retool their skills
Some of the items that were created by the ladies during the staging of the workshop

Christopher said the first group of women came from the Windward side and the second group from the Central and Leeward sides. The NCF Coordinator explained that workshop was held three days per week and lasted for four weeks, and described the group as skillful and creative with very outstanding art and craft. Christopher encouraged the women to work together as there is strength in numbers.

Cultural Officer in the Department of Culture, Maxine Browne told the women that they are important, and that their children, and future generations will benefit from their hard work. She, too, commended them for their active participation and for being builders of the craft industry.

Craft women continue to retool their skills
Brenda McIntosh (left), accepts her certificate from Maxine Browne, Cultural Officer in the Department of Culture

Browne urged the women to continue to do their best and to lift the standards of craft here in St Vincent and the Grenadines. Accordingly, she said, the women will have subsequent training in online marketing and social media to help them market their products locally, regionally and internationally.

NCF/CFLI Programme Coordinator Julian Pollard said one of the main aims of the workshop is to get the women to make more money. The women, Pollard explained, were taught the history of St Vincent and the Grenadines with the intent that their craft reflects this country’s history. The NCF Coordinator commended the women for their work and described their craft as lovely. He said that his desire is for craft to become one of this country’s main exports and called for more public and private sector involvement in the craft industry.

Participant in the craft training Kendra Jackson said she was elated and a proud participant and expressed thanks to the Canada Fund for Local Initiatives and Pollard for his role in the programme.

Craft women continue to retool their skills
Chairman of NCF, Wollis Christopher (left) presents Kendra Jackson with her certificate

The Women and Craft workshop, funded by the CFLI at a cost of over CDN$70,000 has one more cohort to train before completion. The programme is being held under the theme: “Boosting the Capacity of the Craft Industry.”

The programme is being held at the SVG Development Center of the Arts, New Montrose.