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Home > Save our crafts!

A SUMMER programme is being launched to save and preserve Bahrain‘s traditional crafts.

Pottery, basket weaving, traditional dolls and puppets, copper and gypsum crafts courses are being offered by Al Jasra Handicrafts Centre in co-operation with the Industry and Commerce Ministry from July 15 to August 30.

"The main aim of this programme is to preserve our traditions as well as train younger generations to carry them on," said centre head Shaikha Wafa bint Saif Al Khalifa.

She said it was important for the younger generation to bring new ideas and fresh concepts to old traditions, while still maintaining them.

"There is a lot of interest and response to the programme, and the younger generation is very talented. It is good to know that people have interest in maintaining our cultural heritage and traditions," said Shaikha Wafa.

"We hope that with the help of this programme, people will be able to open small businesses with their newly acquired skills.

"There is a great demand for traditional craft souvenirs and especially with the increasing number of tourists coming to Bahrain for developments such as the Bahrain Financial Harbour, Al Amwaj development and obviously the Bahrain International Circuit."

The training programme session offers lessons in pottery and glazing, which is a 5,000-year-old industry in Bahrain, said Ministry of Industry and Commerce Marketing specialist and programme co-ordinator Jehad Al Humood.

He said that participants would learn the history and production involved as well as create their own craft.

Other crafts include basket weaving with palm tree leaves, traditional doll and puppet making, wearing traditional Bahraini costumes and copper and gypsum crafts.

"Our aim is to transfer these traditional skills to the new generation," said Mr Al Humood.

"The programme is open to all nationalities and all ages above eight years old."

He said that the centre would like other nationalities to be exposed to the traditional crafts and help to preserve the Bahraini tradition.

"From the response to the programme that started last year, we realised that there is enough interest from the Bahraini young generation to continue these ancient craft traditions," said Mr Al Humood.

He said that while the majority of people that join the programme were female, there were male participants also last year, who were very interested in it.

"Last year we even had doctors who joined the programme, showing that even professionals are interested in the preservation of Bahrain‘s traditions and have the will to learn the skills," said Mr Al Humood.

"We have chosen these particular crafts to be taught in the programme since they are easier to learn.

"Other crafts such as boat building are extremely old traditions and obviously require more skill and are harder to learn."

The ministry was dedicated to work on supporting these traditions, he added.

"We provide a lot of financial funding and support to the craftsmen and currently have nine craftsmen working at the centre, who receive their salaries from the government," said Mr Al Humood.