With Uttarakhand's handicrafts as its central theme, the sixth edition of Shilpkala Utsav, a women artisans' crafts bazaar, opened here today. Organised by All India Women's Conference (AIWC) and Uttarakhand government, the three-day festival is focused on "empowerment of women artisans, promotion of the crafts, and elimination of middlemen". According to Rakesh Dhawan, president of AIWC, the initiative will help build women artisans' confidence. "Our moto at AIWC is to empower women at the grass root level. This initiative will help build the confidence of women of the hilly regions of Uttarakhand to become successful entrepreneurs in the years to come," she said. The festival has a total of 81 stalls from 16 states, out of which 22 are from Uttarakhand. They have on display a variety of handcrafted collections of textiles, crafts, paintings, jewellery and accessories. Along with selling the traditional crafts, the artisans will also demonstrate their skills during the festival.
As an added attraction, cultural performances by artistes from Uttarakhand will also be organised. Ritu Singhal, convener of Shilpkala Utsav, called out to women artisans to step out and be economically self-reliant. "We will contiune to encourage more women artisans to step out of their homes, reach out to their customers directly and be economically self-reliant. We have miles to travel and many hands to join in our journey in fulfilling our objectives," Singhal said. The crafts festival will conclude on October 12.
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