Meet Bhaderwah entrepreneur using her passion for arts & crafts to empower under privileged women

Yoshiko Yap

Jammu, Nov 30: Aniza Mushtaq, 35-year-old artist from Bhaderwahbegan making decorative patches on different materials when she was young, including wood, paper, clothes, and cement pots.   

Her  love for making crafts started at an early age and this also earned her huge respect among the relatives and dear ones. 


“Before marriage, I would present my crafts to my relatives and other near and dear ones as a token of love or gifts and in return I would receive huge appreciation,” says Aniza Mushtaq.


Aniza says her relatives would also ask her to think about turning her passion into a full-fledged business. “But I never took their suggestion seriously until 2007 when I underwent a training on crafts making from one Anu Soni of Department of Handicrafts and Handloom, Jammu”.


Having a Bachelor’s degree  in Arts, Aniza  got married in 2009. Post her marriage she continued to make crafts but couldn’t persuade her family to start  a business .

“ My husband gave me a nod in the very first go,” says the 35-year-old entrepreneur and she started her journey in crafts making and got herself registered with the Department of Handicrafts & Handloom in 2019. In the first exhibition of her crafts prepared on cement pots and other materials, at Kala Kendra Jammu, the woman entrepreneur says she earned Rs 30000 sale.

Thereafter she never looked back and continued to tie up with different government departments for getting help in the sale of her products through exhibitions.


She says most of the people who purchased her products asked her to switch to making crafts on some light-weight materials over cement pots and other heavy materials.

“So, I decided to create the papier-machie crafts on light-weight egg and walnut shells, kitchen wastes, glass bottles, bowls, dry fruit trays, earthen pots, lamps, and other easily available light-weight materials, in 2021,” she says.


These women make creative keychains, figurines, showpieces, creative Chinar leaves, flower bouquets, trays, lamps and a variety of other materials.


In 2022, she got a company registered by the name JammuzPaper Mache which is a start-up now with the assistance of Sher-e-Kashmir University of agricultural Sciences and Technology-Jammu (SKUAST-J).


Not only this, the woman entrepreneur was also chosen for a job of training the unemployed women of Bhaderwah by the Department of Handicrafts & Handloom under the government’s Karkhandaar scheme.

Karkhandaar scheme provides for payment of Rs. 2000 per month to the women undergoing training in arts and crafts and Rs 2000 per trainee to the trainer.


“I’ve got 200 unemployed women registered at different centres in Bhaderwah for training in arts and crafts and other fields,” Aniza Mushtaq says.

“Most women in my centre are from marginalized backgrounds. Some of them were earlier doing manual labour work. I’m happy that now they’re earning and up-skilling with dignity and self-respect,” she further added.

To mention,  Aniza has so far participated in 25 exhibitions run by J&K government and earned in lakhs. On an average, she holds 6-7 exhibitions every year besides making a decent income as a trainer under the Karkhandaar scheme. 


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