Differently-abled, unemployed youth to make shoes in Meghalaya
Differently-abled and unemployed youth in Meghalaya, will be designing shoes for people with orthopaedic problems. The shoe making unit, set up by the Roilang Livelihood Academy of Bethany Society, was inaugurated by deputy consul-general of the German consulate, Calcutta, Jrgen Thomas Schrod.the unit has been set up with support from CBM (formerly Christoffel Blindenmission) India and funding from the German consulate. The consulate had provided a grant of ` 2.7 lakh to purchase machines required for the unit.the unit will cater to manufacturing shoes for people, who require specially-designed footwear because of various orthopedic problems, Bethany Society Director, Carmo Noronha said. Moreover, it will also manufacture normal shoes and other leather products.”we want to develop the employability of youths, including the differently-abled. It will start imparting training from tomorrow to four differentlyabled persons in making special footwear, including leprosy sandals and orthopaedic shoes,” Noronha said. The Society had sent an employee, Eldalyne Kharsati, to the Vietnamese Training Centre for Orthopaedic Technologists of the University of Labour and Social Affairs in Hanoi to undergo a 18-month course in shoe making.
Kharsati said the price of orthopaedic shoes will be expensive considering the time involved in making these speciallydesigned footwear. The starting price for the shoes will be around ` 2,000, she said.”we have a small-scale programme, which supports small communities wherever we can in terms of improving their lives. That is what we have done here, thanks to CBM and the Bethany Society. It is not big money but it help,” Schrod said.according to the 2011 census, Meghalaya has 44,317 people with disabilities, of whom 6,980 people are visually impaired and 12,353 suffer from hearing impairment. There are also 3,576 people afflicted with multiple disabilities and 5,312 from movement-related disabilities. UN I
The FDRA organized a full day ‘Footwear Sourcing Intelligence Summit’ on 25th July 2017 in the New York Stock Exchange, Wall Street. The Summit discussed a number of issues i.e. global footwear sourcing, supply chain and factory compliance issues and trends. The event featured special keynotes from industry executives as well as panels covering specific countries featuring industry directors and experts. The prominent Summit participants were; Keen, NIKE, Caleres, Target, Wolverine Worldwide, ALDO, Redwing, Topline/steve Madden, Fortune Footwear, Anne Klein, SG Footwear, Timberland, Sears, and many more! CLE was a sponsor of the Summit among sponsors viz. TUV Sud, BSI, Apex Logistics, SAPICA, FARROW, Wolverine Worldwide etc. Mr. P.R. Aqeel Ahmed, ViceChairman, CLE and Mr. Puran Dawar, Regional Chairman-north, CLE represented the Council in the Summit. Scott Labbe, Vice-president Product Development, Virtual Innovations, Advanced Concepts, at Wolverine Worldwide shared his presentation on ‘ Innovation Keynote: Updating the development & Manufacturing Process at Wolverine Worldwide’. Scott explained the footwear manufacturing process adopted by Wolverine Worldwide that strictly comply quality and social norms. His presentation ended with a quote by Edward Hartzman, Souring Journal Founder and Publisher; “It may be a difficult time for footwear industry, but it is certainly one filled with opportunities for those looking to embrace the challenge”.
Vice Chairman CLE Aqeel Ahmed, shared interesting views on a Panel discussion “Growth outside China & Vietnam: A discussion on Sourcing, Compliance & Supply Chains in Mexico, India, Cambodia & Bangladesh’ moderated by Matt Priest, President & CEO of FDRA. The other Panelists at the session were General Alvaro Baltodano, Minister, Presidential Delegate for Investment, Nicaragua, Santiago de Mucha Mendiola, Vice President of International Trade, Mexican Footwear Chamber and Jeff Mc Cauley, Vice President of Global Accounts, Integration Point.
Participating in the Panel discussions, Aqeel Ahmed, stated that under the able leadership of the Hon’ble Prime Minister of India, the whole Country is transforming. The Govt. of India had taken a very strong measure few months earlier i.e. demonetization of high value notes in order to eradicate black money from the economy for ensuring its stable and speedy growth. Aqeel Ahmed said, “Govt. of India is giving utmost importance to the leather sector and implementation of a ‘Special Package’ for the overall development of the industry is in the pipeline. The measures like creation of Mega Leather Clusters with a sizable Govt. funding support will definitely go on to change the face of our Industry in the coming years.” He added, “Introduction of the new tax regime, ‘Goods & Service Tax” was yet another measure implemented by the Govt. of India, for ensuring the overall progress of the Country.”
Aqeel Ahmed stated that a ‘New’ and ‘Energetic’ India is in the making under the reins of the current Government. While talking about the India’s huge and untapped domestic market for footwear and related products, Vice-chairman, CLE informed that only 10% of the India’s footwear production is exported and the remaining 90% is consumed in the domestic market itself. The Non Leather Footwear Industry in India is also steadily growing. He shared his views on ‘Make in India’ Programme and said, “Leather is among the Product Sectors identified under this Programme for promoting investment and manufacturing in the Sector.” He touched upon Digital India, availability of skilled manpower etc., in the speech. The Leather Industry in India has changed drastically over the years. From the family run business, the Industry has now started operating like big corporate and multinational companies. Other panelists shared the status of the Footwear Industry in their respective Countries, measures adopted by their Governments for development of the Sector.
Replying to a question raised by Matt Priest regarding the current export scenario and latest developments taken place in the Industry, Aqeel Ahmed, stated that nearly 56% of the India’s export of leather and leather products, including footwear are going to European Countries. However, India’s export to USA has substantially increased over the years. As focused by the Government of India, CLE is undertaking export promotion initiatives to explore the new and potential markets. In this direction, he advised on the export promotion activities planned by the CLE in the Latin America and also in the African Countries. He apprised about the accreditation of the Footwear Design & Development Institute (FDDI) as an institution of ‘National Importance’ and Both the Houses of Parliament of India in this regard had recently cleared a Bill. The Training and Testing Institutes like FDDI, CLRI, CFTI, NIFT etc. has played a very important role in improving the design capabilities of the industry and also for providing skill manpower. He appraised the house about the Leather Sector Skill Council (LSSC) and its role in imparting training to the young workforce in India. While talking about the importance of ‘Social Compliance’, the Vice-chairman, CLE informed the gathering that Indian Leather and Footwear Industry is well acquainted with the environmental norms and following strictly the norms for Social Compliance as per international standards.
While talking on the occasion, Mr. Puran Dawar, Regional Chairman-north, CLE said that in the last FDRA Summit also he has raised a question that what is prompting the American Companies not to source from India; the answer was; ‘absence of Skill’. Mr. Puran Dawar clarified that Skill is not an issue in our Industry now and the sector has changed to the level akin to the corporate industry.
Hari Perumal, Vice-president, Global Technical Operations and Don Wicks, US Plant Manager of Keen Footwear jointly made a presentation on ‘KEEN on Built in America: What’s Really Happening and What’s to Come”. Keen Footwear opened the Portland facility in 2009 in America making high quality sandals, casual shoes and work boots. The ‘Objectives’ of the company, as narrated in the Presentation was to Develop PU technology and build high quality injected products in USA and Bring shoe making knowledge back to USA.
Mr. P.R. Aqeel Ahmed, Vice- Chairman , CLE (centre) along with Mr. Puran Dawar, Regional Chairman (North), CLE at the Summit