Promoting bamboo craft among community

Urbanization has sprawl into the rural setup by converting small villages into concrete heavy multi-storied buildings and thus inviting danger of landslide, floods, earthquake and other calamities in the hilly areas.

Innovative architecture with renewable material is needed to control the damage. The use of bamboo as an alternative to concrete is the best option in constructing houses in the hilly areas.

Bamboo is not only environment friendly and locally available but also earthquake resistant. Despite its importance and usability, very less is been done to develop, promote and commercialise its use.

In an attempt to boost the use of bamboo in Kalimpong, Darjeeling and Sikkim, Caritas India has supported Anugyalaya to setup training cum processing unit for bamboo craft and construction in Darjeeling through its micro project.

Total 60 community members from Kalimpong and north Sikkim were trained under 3 batches in the art of bamboo craft like, decorative items, flower vase, artificial flowers, furniture, etc.

Though bamboo has been in widely used since ancient times as a low-cost material for houses, bridges, animal shelters and fencing in Darjeeling hills and Sikkim. Its traditional method lacked the knowledge of processing bamboo to make it last longer.

The average house constructed of bamboo without these knowledge last for up to 5 years as compared to the treated ones which are anticipated to last for at least 50 years if constructed using all the techniques of treating and cutting bamboo.

Mr. Titus Rai, one of the trainees of the first batch has become a main resource persons to impart such trainings to different Communities right from the local Community near Anugyalaya Farm at Pakang to the community of North Sikkim at their behest.

Rajbir Singh from pakang village of Gitdubling says that after attending the training he had learnt the proper techniques of using bamboo and it has given the alternate source of income. The training has not only benefited him but the whole community.

Though the people have not started selling bamboo products in the market but they have started making different bamboo products in different communities.  The people have come to know the usefulness and value of the usage of bamboo so they have taken the initiative of cultivating good species of bamboo which were usually brought from outside of local area.

Though the demand for Bamboo furniture and crockery is in high demand but due to the lack of proper marketing in the area it is less flourishing.