The Pot-maker of Limitless Potential
‘I was a cow herder at Wangling who neither had any skills nor exposure. Ten years ago, a Tarayana Field Officer urged me to join the pottery training that was open for both educated and uneducated individuals. Apart from the pottery skill, I have learned to communicate with people and developed my analytical aptitude.
Working here at the pottery workshop, I have been able to be financially independent and have supported my parents and family. The pottery house that I am working in right now was looked after by a pair of trainees from the first batch 6 years before my training. My batch had about 12 individuals joining at the beginning and after two months, most of the trainees started to leave for home. I chose to stay back because I enjoyed and relished the opportunity to learn and work. I was excited to see the machines as well as all the products that were produced.
From my products, antique pots made through traditional methods are popular in the market. I have taught myself to produce these as I was initially trained to make modern pots. Regular-sized pots are sold between Nu. 850 to Nu. 950.
In a year I earn about one hundred thousand ngultrums after calculating all operational costs and debts. I procure the clay from a government land in Punakha that costs about Nu. 60,000 including transportation and labor charges. I feel we could cut down the transportation costs if the clay was extracted from a nearby location instead. I employ locals in various stages of production such as clay extraction, clay processing, and pot furbishing. I am very glad to be able to help out my community members. I have also employed a woman who helps me for two to three months every year.
I have also availed loan from Tarayana MicroFinance twice which has boosted my production. As we did not produce or sell pots during the pandemic, I’m looking forward to displaying my products at this year’s Tarayana Fair. During the previous Fairs, I earned about thirty thousand ngultrums. I market my business through my sister and Tarayana Foundation.
I have not ventured into social media and individual marketing because of the potential damage to the pots during transportation. So I send the products in bulk to my outlets. Sometimes get orders for bulk purchases, while sometimes the customers come to the workshop to buy
I am the eldest of three siblings and I have to help out at home with farming
activities sometimes. Growing up I wanted to live a simple life herding cows and looking after my parents. I didn’t expect to own a business. Comparing my life before venturing into pottery, I have found a new sense of independence and financial security. I have received motivation and encouragement from numerous individuals from within and outside the community. I am looking to expand the workshop and increase the pottery production. Currently, I have three machines at the workshop, and I am looking to train interested individuals and employ them.
The challenge with training individuals is the need for clay and the risk of machine damage. I did not get the opportunity for formal schooling, I feel if I had gone to school I could have communicated, networked, and socialized better. With the Foundation’s intervention, we have received houses, farm machinery, and skilling opportunities that have transformed our lives beyond our expectations.’