Hla Day Myanmar Artisans Programme
- Support small, independent Myanmar craft businesses through training and fair trade access
- Increase income of poor community members and promote a more inclusive development of Myanmar
- Preserve traditional artisan crafts and traditions while adapting to the modern marketplace
Myanmar’s economic transition has attracted foreign investment from around the world but while these inflows have benefitted larger business, the majority of small businesses still struggle to survive, notably those that are craft-based. After decades of neglect, many artisans are unable to generate demand for their creations as they lack the technical and design training to upskill. At the same time, they face greater competition than ever from imported machine-made alternatives. As a result, traditions that have existed for generations are threatened while artisans from disadvantaged communities face the likelihood of dwindling earnings.
To close the gaps faced by the many disparate groups of artisans, Hla Day was establised as a Myanmar crafts hub to help crafts groups integrate into a more contemporary craft world. In addition to guiding design and product ideas, Hla Day retails the final products at its colourful store in the heart of Yangon. However, as Hla Day grows, it faces a new challenge to formalise its training in order to reach more artisans.
With AirAsia Foundation’s grant, Hla Day is targeting to train 400 new artisans comprising community members in Yangon and rural Myanmar. This will be conducted using new materials translated and adapted from the successful Afghan Artisan Training Toolkit focusing on Business, Accounting and Design skills. Through this formalised training, artisans will be able to hone their craftsmanship and entrepreneurial skills, while building their capacity to eventually set up and manage their own crafts-based businesses.
The training rollout will take place as a Train the Trainers’ programme in two phases:
- 2016 – Training of new Yangon artisans
- 2017 – Training of rural artisans
To ensure sustainability of Hla Day, the grant funding will also include training and employment of a local management trainee to develop skills for a managerial position.
Hla Day was established to help independent local artisans build strong and profitable craft businesses. Since 2012, its founders have trained more than 50 producer groups in product design, creative-thinking, financial management and English literacy, while offering them a marketplace for sustainably-produced creations. At Hla Day’s centrally-located Yangon store, tourists and locals mingle to shop its colourful range of products which are contemporary in style yet unmistakably Myanmarese in culture. Hla Day endeavours to expand into different regions in Myanmar and build more relationships with artisans around the country.
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