SABAH Bhutan: an organic organization
The exhibition of new textile designs and organic food products, organized by the SAARC Business Association of Home based workers ( SABAH Bhutan) has started from 29th September and will end today in Voluntary Artist’s Studio Thimphu (VAST).
SABAH Bhutan is a public benefit organization which is registered under Civil Society Organization Authority of Bhutan. The organization is funded by the SAARC Development Fund as a part of the project “strengthening Livelihood Initiatives of the Home Based Workers in the SAARC Regions”. The exhibition in VAST is SABAH Bhutan’s first local exhibition. It is the effort of SABAH Bhutan to bring forward the work of its home based workers. It is an exhibition cum sale of the products made by home based workers.
It includes organic food products and textiles products.
The exhibition of organic food products has variety of pickles made from mango, chilly, bamboo shoot and amla and others such as amla juice and rice papad. The price range of the pickles starts from Nu. 50 - 175.
The textile designs includes three types of products, which is, apparels (kira, gho and scarfs), and home décor (cushion covers, table mats) and accessories (bags and purses). The products were well displayed on mannequins. The designer, Sonam Dolma said that the products of SABAH Bhutan is all handmade but is cheaper as compared to the market products and is discounted.
The exhibition also had colorful yarns in display but the coloring of the yarn was done organically. The color for the yarn were mostly extracted from the products which are found in almost every household, such as tamarind, turmeric, beet root, apple tree leaves, pomegranate cover, as some to be named.
According to Sonam Dolma, there is one SABAH center in each SAARC countries. Here, in SABAH Bhutan, currently there are more than 400 members all over Bhutan and is mostly women, employed as well as unemployed. It is an organization focused mostly on women and women welfare. She also said that SABAH Bhutan’s membership is given to those who register for it and then they are trained and also provided with the opportunity to go abroad.
SABAH Bhutan works in a simple way, that is, workers are given free yarns and they make products and SABAH
Bhutan pay them making charge and then sell the products to the customers. In this process SABAH Bhutan does marketing job and brings products to the public.
Sonam Dolma said, “The home based workers get unlimited and unhindered work as they can make products through- out the year and get paid for it by the organization”.
But, the main function of the organization is not only to provide livelihood to the women but also to give them exposure and promote traditional and cultural heritage of the traditional arts, skills and designs through intensive training. It may be a local exhibition now but it is a stepping stone for future endeavor in Bhutan made by SABAH Bhutan and supported by the VAST.