From the Grass Roots : Training in Bamboo Craft at Melghat
Bamboo is a versatile grass. Bamboo seeds, leaves and shoots are eaten by many including birds, herbivores and humans. Articles and furniture prepared from bamboo is in great demand in the cities. Making of bamboo articles is a tough task and requires intensive training. In our ongoing project on building livelihood alternatives for local communities in Melghat, we included a bamboo craft training program. The objective of this training program is to create employment opportunities for local communities living in tiger habitat and thereby earn their good-will and support for tiger conservation. The workshop is a part of our ongoing project on "Integrated Tiger Habitat Conservation and Eco-development’ and is being supported by IUCN. A few dedicated candidates from selected villages were chosen to undergo residential training in bamboo craft for two months in Kotha Village in Harisal Range of Melghat Tiger Reserve. The candidates spent two whole months training under expert trainer Mr. Prabhudas Chavan from “Bas Kala Sagar Audyogik Sanstha" . Training included lessons on types of bamboo, selection of correct type of bamboo, use of different tools and hands on training on creating different products. After two months of exhaustive training, the youth were able to create beautiful products independently and ready to join the local bamboo craftsmen team. Trainees are being encouraged to continue the good work and have been handed a tool-kit, certificate and honorarium for two months. The training workshop was well appreciated by the Forest department and IUCN as its generating sustainable livelihood for forest dwelling communities which will ultimately contribute to conservation of Tiger Habitat.