The Industrial Modernisation Centre changes the lives of ten women handmade carpets (kilim )makers in Kom El Shoqafa
The Handicrafts Support Program contributes to the production of the first order of Kelim (rugs) and handbags at Antica Handicrafts Association.
170 high-quality pieces, the product of the first training in the association
Founder: “IMC helped us develop products and gave women new hope”
Within an archaeological area, being the most famous in Alexandria, “Antica” for Creative Crafts, which was founded to revive the value of the Egyptian heritage and encourage handicrafts. It is the ideal choice for the establishment of the association, which includes a group of women working in the manufacture of Kelim (rugs), carpets and handbags in a heritage spirit commensurate with the nature of the ancient place.
The association also adopted the activation of the "Champs-Elysees Alex" project as a tourist street that links the tourist attractions in the region and includes all the products and makers of creative crafts that reflect the spirit of heritage and bring back life to Egyptian handicraft.
The goal of establishing the association was in harmony with the goals for which the program to support industrial clusters and heritage crafts at the Industrial Modernisation Centre (IMC) was launched; a program that provides support, development and training services for handicraft owners, and aims to create a work environment that encourages art and creativity, protect Egyptian crafts from extinction and support their owners in marketing their products. This how the cooperation between IMC and the Antica Creative Business Association began to train women to use the loom and to produce the first integrated production order of Kelims (rugs) and handbags, which was a real business opportunity that added new hope to the lives of ten women from the ancient area of Kom El Shoqafa.
What is the Creative Crafts Program within the IMC
The Handicrafts Clusters program was launched in July 2005 to serve small handicraft clusters that fall within one geographical area and produce mostly similar products. Since then, it has worked on integrating the largest possible number of owners of small workshops, craft industries and owners of micro-enterprises under the umbrella of support and services, for which the Industrial Modernisation Centre bears approximately 90% of the total cost. The program helped save many crafts that are subject to extinction, and gave them the opportunity to continue, and even contributed to highlighting these crafts in a large number of internal and external exhibitions, and provided them with many marketing opportunities and spread at the local and international levels.
The beginning of the story of the Antica Creative Crafts Association
It is a registered association since 2017, that seeks to revive traditional crafts by creating a climate for craftsmen and helping them to market their heritage products. The association also seeks to activate the “Champs Elysees Alex” project as a model for Khan el-Khalili in Cairo. The project aims to transform the area into an archaeological street linking tourist attractions and filled with bazaars. Egyptian heritage products are displayed in the hands of the women joining the association and other handicraft makers in the region.
The story of cooperation between IMC and Antica Association
Cooperation between IMC and the Antica Association began last year after a visit from the program team to Alexandria Governorate. The visit revealed the urgent need to support the capabilities of the association, given the crafts groups it embraces, products available that need development and raising the quality, and the labor force that needs good training.
The first step was to assess the association's situation and study the needs and problems, then put forward the idea of developing the Kelim (rugs) industry from recycled fabric to provide the raw materials used and to produce a high-quality product at the same time.
Regarding the training program provided by IMC, Ms. Hayam Mohammed Gouda said that “before communicating with the team of IMC, the reliance was limited to natural wool in the production of Kelim, and despite its high price, the products lacked quality. Following evaluation by the IMC team, they have started implementing the idea of developing a Kelim product from recycled fabric, through the use of fabric residuals, after the completion of production processes and is considered a manufacturing waste for factories”.
Regarding the results of the training, “Gouda” said that “The center organized a training program for 10 women in the techniques of making Kelim and handbags using recycled fabric, and the surprise was the quality of the products that were implemented during the training period, as the women were able to come up with high-quality products and we were able to produce 170 pieces Of kilims and bags”.
Handicrafts Clusters Program Changes the lives of Antica Women:
After completing the training and obtaining a loom as a donation from a charitable association, women of Antica Association were able to produce the first real order of Kelim and heritage bags, which are displayed in one of the famous stores in Alexandria, and which moved them from work seekers to relying on a project that IMC contributed to its success with support and development.
Regarding the results of cooperation with IMC, Hayam Mohammed added that “The Industrial Modernisation Centre helped us a lot in opening a door to livelihood for the women of the association, in addition to adding a new goal to the life of each woman participating in the project, which enhances the value of her sense of achievement and success”. She further added that ”after reaching the required quality, I started communicating with some other stores, and all of them welcomed the production and we have already started implementing new orders, and we have purchased two additional looms to accommodate the orders, and we are also seeking to attract more women due to the accelerating need of work in the association”.