Pema Wangmo and Her Dream
With her long black hair draping around her shoulder and a big smile around her mouth, Pema Wangmo connects with her customers by explaining the features of her products.
“It’s my first time here in the capital; it’s overwhelming. I never imagined Thimphu would be that busy. But I am happy to experience it”, says Pema Wangmo, 28, from Gongdue Gewog under Monggar Dzongkhag.
As a representative of Pam Bamboo Group, Pema Wangmo, with another older woman to showcase the products at the Expo. Her group came into existence four years ago with assistance from the Tarayana Foundation. It consists of 18 members, all skilled in making bamboo products. “I could not stop coming to Thimphu when I got an opportunity to represent my group and showcase our products during this launch of TSHAR.” Says Pema.
Her family’s sole income is from the sale of bamboo woven products. She recalls that she started weaving baskets in her early childhood days. She took over her father with their family business a few years back.
Before Tarayana’s intervention, Pema’s family used to sell their products to the mediators and neighboring villages, where they hardly earned anything. She says it didn’t cover their daily wage, but they had no choice. With the help from Tarayana, their group could sell their products, and this time they got an opportunity to deal directly with the customers. “Through this opportunity, I am more clear about customers’ wants and demands. Going back to the village, I will be able to tell my group what we can do better to improvise our products so that we can sell our products easily in the market”, she explains.
Pema explains her main challenge back in the village is to get the raw materials, “Yula” (a species of bamboo), which has become very rare. It takes days to get the materials, and the government has made it compulsory for them to collect Yula only for a specific period and in a certain quantity.
In the future, Pema dreams of having her own Bamboo production house with few employees and outlets in the towns to sell her products. “My little Dzongkha, which I learned from my Non-Formal Education (NFE) classes and with the help from Tarayana Foundation, I see my dream is not too far away,” says Pema with a smile.