In a first in Manipur, 23 models walked the ramp wearing traditional costumes woven by Persons with Disabilities (PwDs) on Saturday.
The show was organised under the theme, ‘Pick Local and Style in Global’, at Ima Panthoibi Chareiphi and Sheloi Apanba at City Convention Centre in Imphal East.
The Ima Panthoibi Chareiphi and Sheloi Apanba are modern textiles, handloom and handicrafts emporiums based in Manipur.
While Social Welfare Minister H Dingo was the chief guest, retired director of Horticulture department Nongmeikapam Joymati was the president at the event.
ON A PAR
Indigenous handicrafts and handloom items such as baskets, laiphadibi, clay toy, ngarubak, lu, hidakphu, towel, knife, shawls, wrappers were displayed at the event which saw participation of 10 groups from different institutes and associations for persons with disability.
Various traditional dances were performed by students of BB Paul Mental Development Home, Mongsangei, Imphal West.
Th Sunibala, PwD, who worked at the Sheloi Apanba since 2015, said, “It was heartwarming to see the models wear those clothes. Such an event gives us encouragement and increases our willpower. I am glad to know that my work does not go to waste. Although I am physically challenged, I am a self-reliant woman, as I earn Rs 7,000 to 10,000 every month.”
The models also expressed their gratitude. “Those dresses are as good as any designer’s,” said a model at the show.
THE ONLY STALL OWNER
Soibam Birla Devi Doll and Toy, Laipham Khunou, Imphal East, was the only one who opened a stall at the expo.
Speaking to the News18, Birla, who is in her wheelchair, expressed her happiness at socialising with different people in the expo.
She started practising the art of making ‘Laiphadibi’ at a young age and took part in events since 2004.
“I made two life-sized dolls,” she said.
“We are trying to send a message to the world that their contribution towards society is no less than others,” said Laishram Priyadarshini, proprietor of Sheloi Apanba, while speaking exclusively to News18.
She further expressed her dissatisfaction at Social Welfare department officials who allegedly refused to give any moral support despite several attempts.
“We are glad that newly inducted H Dingo attended the function,” she added.