Arts & CultureFeaturedLIFESTYLE

Weaving for a Living

Unlike most handicraft shops, Kraf Anyaman has been operating for more than 10 years, employing the disabled to help them make a living. They weave rattan baskets of different sizes, handbags and even the sepak takraw.

When Persatuan Pemulihan Orang Cacat (PPOC) (Society of Rehabilitation of Disabled People) Perak was formed in 1977, the blind have already been trained to weave. They then passed on their knowledge to the others.

Mohamed Daniel Kadir, president of PPOC chose to employ them because he felt they deserved to be treated equally. Apart from hoping to have these rattan handicrafts symbolising Ipoh, he too hopes that society will appreciate their beauty and workmanship.

The first step to weaving a basket is by starting from the base. Every rattan handicraft has its own technique and texture. It is phenomenal how skilled they are despite their disabilities, taking three to four days to complete a basket, imbued by passion and dedication. Some are made out of coloured rattans.

“Don’t ask me how they can identify the colours, miracles do happen here,” said Daniel.

Four of the workers are blind while one is physically handicapped. Their confidence and trust in their own skills are impeccable. “The skills are almost impossible to acquire. I think there is only one or two in the whole country who can weave as well as them,” he added.

“We’ve customers from all over, locally and abroad, coming to our shop,” said Daniel. However, as much as the tourists love handicrafts sold at Kraf Anyaman, Malaysians, generally, do not appreciate such works of art. Perhaps they are unaware and, therefore, are not responsive.

Daniel expressed hopes that the local community would one day understand the significance of the whole idea and appreciate the onerous mantle of how these disabled are able to stay committed to their weaving and manage their families as well.

“I’m in awe and baffled,” said Daniel. “They’re true icons of the disabled.”

Open every day from 9am to 6pm. Located at 190 Jalan Sultan Idris Shah, Ipoh. Tel.: 05 311 5509/311 1509. Facebook: Craft Ipoh Rattan Kraf Anyaman.


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