Empowering; Safeguarding and Contemporizing
A standard setting organization, THAAP Crafts was established in 2009 in response to the need to acknowledge the immensely rich and varied craft traditions of Pakistan. It grew out of the UNESCO-Norway funded Mapping of Cultural Assets of South Punjab Project carried out in the districts of Multan, Bahawalpur, Vehari and later DG Khan in 2008-10. The Mapping revealed the vast presence of crafts in these districts and the number of communities especially women engaged in craft making. What also emerged was that the potential of this sector needed to be unlocked to enable its contribution towards livelihood and economic wellbeing of the people which at the time remained under acknowledged and unexplored.
THAAP Crafts Role in the Creative and Cultural Industries Sector
Weaving Tradition in Contemporary Times
THAAP Crafts developed its expertise in the Creative and Cultural Industries Sector, developing innovative products, packaging and marketing these through exhibitions and online. All products were based on traditional designs and visual language which was contemporized for the modern buyer. The artisans were reconnected to the tradition of design development where inspiration was the immediate environment of the communities and products were prepared in view of its relevance to the communities. In contemporary times where buyers are multifold and spread in a vast geographical area and competition is greater among many more artisans and with the machine, the niche of handmade products needs to develop core skills and knowledge to survive and be at the cutting edge. THAAP Crafts developed a training and capacity building model which is the forte of the organization.
Sustainability for a Vibrant Future
The organization aimed to create artisan-entrepreneurs at the grass root level and established systems to enable sustainable organizations managed and run by entrepreneurs in the textile sector, ceramics, naqqashi and other craft sectors.
THAAP Crafts currently has a network of over 12,000 artisans in over 100 villages in South Punjab, and in the Khyber Pukhtunkhwa provinces, including Swat and the Kalasha valleys, as well as a few artisan communities from Sind. THAAP Crafts is proud of the fact that many of its artisan entrepreneurs are successfully running their businesses, taking full advantage of the tech-based communication systems while maintaining their traditional clientele.
THAAP Crafts is proud of their contribution to turning around the embellished textile sector and reviving the handloom industry in some of the traditional locations in South Punjab. The success stories of these ventures have been widely acknowledged in the media. Undoubtedly more needs to be done and the mission carried on with zeal and commitment!
THAAP Crafts main aim is to safeguard the cultural assets of the communities, groups and sometimes individuals while enabling the sustainable economic growth of the village and poor urban settlements and social & economic empowerment of artisans particularly women.
THAAP Crafts works closely with THAAP Heritage and other organizations in the THAAP Group to further its Mission.
Recognizing the rich craft traditions of Pakistan, THAAP Crafts seeks to enable the provision of livelihood opportunities for the immensely marginalized craft communities and engender pride in the cultural heritage and expressions of the people of this nation. The organization is committed towards bringing policy and institutional change in the crafts sector by engaging with communities, government and the corporate sector and to develop strategies which will ensure the long term sustainability and safeguarding of the craft making traditions of the communities, groups and sometimes individuals.