In a first in Manipur, 23 models walked the ramp wearing traditional costumes woven by people with disabilities (PwD) on Saturday.
The show was held under the theme “Pick Local and Style in Global”, at Ima Panthoibi Chareiphi and Sheloi Apanba at the City Convention Center in Imphal East.
Ima Panthoibi Chareiphi and Sheloi Apanba are modern textile, loom and handicraft stores based in Manipur.
While the Minister of Social Affairs, H Dingo, was the main guest, the retired director of the horticulture department, Nongmeikapam Joymati, was the chairman of the event.
ON AN EQUAL FOOTING
Indigenous handicrafts and hand-woven items such as baskets, laiphadibi, clay toys, ngarubak, lu, hidakphu, towels, knives, shawls and wrappers were displayed during the exhibition. event which saw the participation of 10 groups from different institutes and associations for people with disabilities.
Various traditional dances were performed by students from BB Paul Mental Development Home, Mongsangei, Imphal West.
Th Sunibala, PwD, who had worked at Sheloi Apanba since 2015, said, “It was heartwarming to see the models wearing these clothes. Such an event encourages us and increases our will. I am happy to know that my work is not lost. Although I am physically disabled, I am an empowered woman as I earn Rs 7,000 to 10,000 every month.
The models also expressed their gratitude. “These dresses are as good as any designer’s,” a model told the show.
THE ONLY STAND OWNER
Soibam Birla Devi Doll and Toy, Laipham Khunou, Imphal East, was the only one to open a booth at the exhibition.
Speaking to News18, Birla, who is in her wheelchair, expressed her joy at socializing with different people at the exhibit.
She started practicing the art of making ‘Laiphadibi’ at a very young age and has participated in events since 2004.
“I made two life-size dolls,” she said.
“We are trying to send a message to the world that their contribution to society is no less than others,” Laishram Priyadarshini, owner of Sheloi Apanba, said while speaking exclusively to News18.
She further expressed her dissatisfaction with the officials of the social welfare department who allegedly refused to give her any moral support despite several attempts.
“We are pleased that newly inducted H Dingo attended the ceremony,” she added.
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