LAHORE - A three-day annual Craft Fair kicked off here yesterday at Lahore City Heritage Museum (Tollington Market) on The Mall.

The event has been organised by Khoj Society for People’s Education in connection with International Women's Day to celebrate the creativity of the handicraft of Pakistani women.

Around 70 stalls have been set up at the craft fair, which connected the dots of diversified handicraft variety of resource-less families who made these items to make both ends meet.

The items on display at these stalls showed the remarkable creativity that our women artisans possess. They speak volumes about the story of their livelihood and way of life. The larger than life event has also provided an opportunity to the local artisans to win praise and accolades from the visitors, which came from different walks of life.

There were students, women of various NGOs, families of politicians, bureaucrats and social activists. The concept that such fairs should have entry ticket is gaining ground. It is mainly done so that window shoppers can be discouraged and true buyers who want to appreciate the creativity of women artisans should attend.

The entry ticket per person is Rs 100. The proceeds from the money collected will go to Khoj School for Community Education located at village Thatti Bhanuaan of district Sheikhupura where students from underprivileged background get skill development education free of cost.

The fair was inaugurated on Saturday morning by actress and women rights activist Faryal Gohar.

Naureen of Sartyoon Sang Craft Enterprise, who hails from Peshawar, told The Nation that the variety of handicraft products made by rural women artisans of FATA and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa were being sold. “It is first day of the faire but the people’s response has been overwhelming.” She added: “Not only are we looking at good sale but also hope to get good orders from people especially those who have come from other cities. We will provide them delivery service as well.”

Another stall worker Samina Barkat Ali who works at “Khwendo”, an NGO, said that all the handicrafts displayed included Ajrak cap, straw-baskets, mobile pouches, women clothes were made by women from ten districts of interior Sindh. “All the women who made these things are very poor and all the money earned will be given to them to alleviate them from poverty,” Samina told The Nation.

“These kinds of craft fairs are very encouraging especially for those talented handicraft workers of Larkana, Khirpur and Ghangor who have no other platform to showcase their work,” she added.

In the craft show, women artisans who hailed from remote areas and localities of Punjab, interior Sindh and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa participated and exhibited their artworks.

Nasira Habib, Founder of Khoj Society for People’s Education said that they were aimed to organise a bigger show next year with more stalls of handicrafts from Balochistan too. “The Annual Craft Show 2016 shows the indigenous cultural diversity of Pakistan. Such events are rate and no doubt a treat for Lahorites,” Zainab, a university student, said while her eyes gleaming with delight on seeing the beautiful decorations.

It is not just a craft show but a whole entertainment package. There were some food stalls selling sumptuous traditional Lahori food. The ambience of a festival was further built by the young musicians playing popular tunes and singing to their heart’s content. They had come there on their own to contribute to promoting the rich cultural heritage of Pakistan.