Jathika Shilpa Sabha launches new project
In 1982, according to the act of associating institutions under the
National Crafts Council, three institutions were established for the
welfare of the handicraft industry and also the craftsmen. They were
namely the Jathika Shilpa Sabha (NCC), The National Handicraft Board and
also the National Design Centre. These institutions were established
with three main purposes.
The purpose of the Jathika Shilpa Sabha is to protect and preserve
the local handicraft industry which has been there for generations, also
to develop the handicraft industry in general and upgrade the social and
economic situation, protect them and bring their lifestyle to a higher
The National Handicraft Board was later renamed as Laksala. It was
established as a institution to create a market for the handicraft
products. The main purpose of the National Design Centre is to introduce
new designs to the handicraft industry, and also to introduce designs
with quality and durability.
The Jathika Shilpa Sabha conducts training programs, develops the
handicraft villages and also have made projects to enhance their welfare
by opening craft shops.
They now have made plans to hand over the income that they get by
these craft shops to the craftsmen who have retired from their trade,
and to those who need financial assistance.
The Shilpa Sabha recently opened another craft shop at the Dutch
Hospital, Colombo, under the patronage of President Mahinda Rajapaksa,
as another result of their plans to develop the local handicraft
The main responsibility of Laksala is to develop a good market for
Therefore, with the collaboration of three government institutions,
the Jathika Shilpa Sabha continues with its procedure to develop the
handicraft industry, under the Mahinda Chinthana vision.
The chairman of the Jathika Shilpa Sabha, Buddhi Keerthisena told the
Sunday Observer that it was a project which was started two years ago.
It is a continuous project. These projects are created to develop the
traditional handicraft villages.
They need support and President Mahinda Rajapaksa has reserved 100
million to develop the villages.
These projects were done under the ministry of traditional and small
They have developed the villages with facilities such as workshops,
machinery and equipment, infrastructure facilities, electricity and
Under this scheme, they developed seven villages earlier, and several
of them belonging to the Matale distict, such as Pahala Hapuvida for
laaksha industry, Unaweruwa for sesath industry and also developing the
other village for their relative craft work, such as Batuvita in Horana
for face masks, Bope, Poddala for woodcraft, Kooragala for musical
instruments, Neelavala in the Kandy district for jewellery and
Hiththatiya for musical instrument.
In 2013 they had different villages to develop, and by now the number
of villages have increased. Altogether 11 villages are being developed.
While doing that they hope to develop the livelihood of the
entrepreneurs and give a good price for their products and develop a
They have also created a Crafts map of all the handicraft villages of
Sri Lanka to educate the general public, students, tourists and make
them aware of the handicraft industry in Sri Lanka. They are trying to
develop their livelihood and give them a good life.
The National Design Centre is giving them new designs. The ministry
is also helping with this project and President Mahinda Rajapaska is
keen to develop the industry.
The main purpose if the Jathika Shilpa Sabha is to see that craftsmen
get a good market for their products and that they should be paid a good
amount for their items.
Keerthisena said if they do not recognise their talents and
creativity, they may not carry on with their trade and search for other
areas for their livelihood. As a solution, the government institutions
should pay reasonable amounts and the private sector also should follow
The Jathika Shilpa Sabha always represents the craftsmen to enhance
their skills and livelihood.
This particular program will continue.
It is an ongoing project. The minister too, is keen to develop this
sector and this year's budget will provide more funds to this sector.
He said that the entrepreneurs are very happy with the work going on
and they have expressed their happiness with the ongoing project.
Their participation in the "Shilpa" National Exhibition showed their
enthusiasm and creativity. They are also working together with the
UNESCO with this continuous project.The foreign institutions which are
in collaboration with the Jathika Shilpa Sabha are, UNESCO and also
Indian craft institutions such as the Daskari Haat Samiti and Smesco in
The Indian and the Indonesian governments are giving them constant
support and are helping them with all their projects. They give them
their support in marketing, promotion, design and product development
and foreign exhibitions.
With all this support both by the government and the foreign help,
Keerthisena says they have more projects than enough, mostly to enhance
the lives of the entrepreneurs.
They have a good staff and they're carrying on with what is given.
They have less transport facilities, building facilities, and also
sanitary facilities and have to go through a lot of hardships.
Necessary actions should be taken to develop these facilities of an
institution which does a great service to the nation.
But amidst those hardships the Jathika Shilpa Sabha is having a good,
hard working staff and with their dedication, the institution is doing a
yeoman service to make the craftsmen and the small entrepreneurs of our
nation get international recognition for their hard work and increase
the economy of the country to a higher level, without making the profits
go to foreign countries and preserve it for the future generation as one
of our most valuable cultural heritages.