SHANGLA: The women in upper parts of Lelonai area here are making good money by selling traditional, homemade breadbaskets.

Called Shkor in local language, the baskets come in different shapes, designs and sizes and make a major source of income for their producers.

The women have demanded of the government to take steps for exporting Shkors to help them support families.

They told Dawn that both local traders and women placed orders for baskets.

“Our women buy Shkors from their producers. The women associated with this business mostly belong to poor families, who earn a handsome amount to meet their basic needs,” local resident Akmal Shah told Dawn.

He said the local residents also sent the traditional baskets to friends in other parts of the country as gift, while owners of fruit orchards used Shkors for collecting fruits.

“We make Shkor from Indigo Era Indicia (Ghwareja) plants, which are like sticks. We cut them down as required and keep them in water for retaining elasticity before shaping them into Shkors,” Gul Rangina said.

Ms Rangina said almost all women of her family made baskets, which involved a great skill. She said women in other areas didn’t know about how to make Shkors and therefore, they purchased baskets from them.

“I make two Shkors a day besides doing household chores, which keep her busy all through the day. It also provides women with a good opportunity for a get-together.

The female members of the entire family make Shkors under the sun,” old woman Gulab Jana Bibi said while making baskets in her house’s veranda along with other women.

Ms Jana said every basket maker earned around Rs5,000 a month, while a small Shakor was sold at Rs50, medium at Rs150 and large at Rs250.

Amina Bibi said her children collected sticks to help her make Shkors and that she and her family were happy with the money generated by the small business.

She said women made Shkors for keeping fruits, breads, utensils, and collecting fruits in orchards.

‘We demand the government export our handmade baskets to help us earn bigger amount of money,” she said.

Published in Dawn, October 19th, 2018