Bangladesh, one of the world's poorest nations with a rapidly increasing population of more than 79 million, is making a determined bid to build up its handicraft industry, with a view to boosting exports.
GV: Department of Social Welfare and Vagrant's Welfare Home in Kashimpur, Bangladesh.
CU AND GV: women workers making pots and baskets (3 shots)
GV: women workers making mats.
GV AND CU: exhibits in shop window in Mohammadpur (4 shots)
GV AND CU: carpet being displayed.
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: Bangladesh, one of the world's poorest nations with a rapidly increasing population of more than 79 million, is making a determined bid to build up its handicraft industry, with a view to boosting exports.
SYNOPSIS: The Bangladesh government is being helped in the project by outside financial support, including money from the World Bank. The country is seen as a sort of base for handicraft products, which will be sold in Eastern and Western world countries. These women in Kashimpur are typical of the work force mobilised for the enterprise.
Three million people are involved in the project, working at 307 centres throughout the country. These are mainly the disabled, widows or orphans, who work five hours a day for food and a small allowance.
The finished goods make an impressive display, as this shop in Mohammadpur shows. The articles range from vases and curtains to pen holders and prayer mats, and so far the government are well pleased with the response there has been to their products. The aim is to make handicraft a third major exportable item after jute and tea.
Progress to date has been encouraging, and items such as this traditional Bangladesh quilt are expected to bring in something like 20 million United States dollars each year.