The Batavia Handicraft Centre
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–Meeting its objective through prudent management

THE handicraft centre at Batavia in Region Seven (Cuyuni-Mazaruni) is reportedly meeting its objective of generating an income for women in the village, thanks to the generous offer of $2.798M from the Ministry of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs back in 2015.

With that kind of money in hand and prudent management, the women of the village were able to enclose the bottom flat of the Village Office to house the centre, and to purchase raw materials such as nibbi, tibisiri, cufa, feathers and mocuru to make their handicraft.
And, in order to effectively manage their business, the group has set up a management body which oversees the Centre’s day-to-day operations, with the help of two resource persons from the village.

The group has also sought external help, whereby trainers were sourced from all the way in Orealla in Region Six (East Berbice-Corentyne) to provide additional training in the various skilled areas.
To date, the women of Batavia have been producing beaded jewellery, using forest products; nibbi and tibisiri hats, vases and ornamental products such as jewellery boxes, small matapis and cassava sifters.

Just recently, the group embarked on an additional venture and began producing traditional wear for both men and women, hand-knitted cotton bags, chains and actual-size matapis and cassava sifters.
These items are being sold to villagers and those of other nearby villages. The Centre is open to the public on Thursdays. Members Management can be contacted on 659-8628 and 673 0316.

Batavia has a population of 432, with Eyon Boyal serving as Village Chief. Said he of the women’s initiative:
“This handicraft project from the Ministry of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs is greatly benefitting the women of Batavia.
“It is especially of great benefit to single- parent mothers who can now have a source of income.

“I want to thank the ministry for this great initiative, where our women can become self-sufficient while preserving their culture.”
Management Development Officer in the Ministry of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs, Ms. Vivette Wellington said:
“I’m satisfied with the accomplishments of the women’s group, which has enabled them to become self-sufficient.”
The village is hoping that in 2017, its ICT Hub will become operable, as it will be investing in having Internet service in order to improve communications there.

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