How do you enable scattered traditional crafts people across a mountainous region of Central Asia to connect with each other and their markets? De Pamiri Handicrafts, a Christensen grantee, came up with an innovative marketing solution they call ‘the bus invitation’.
Without internet or mobile phones, it’s difficult to reach the traditional Pamiri artisans of the Badakhshan region of Tajikistan, where the Pamir mountains are known as the Roof of the World. So De Pamiri, a local NGO, sent informational posters on busses to all of the distant corners of Badakhshan. Membership in De Pamiri increased, and many artisans in remote regions even began sending their crafts back with the bus drivers to get to market.
A grantee since 2009, and one which has emerged from much collaborative work between Christensen and the Aga Khan Foundation family of institutions, De Pamiri shows how creativity combined with a passion for traditional arts can strengthen communities and economies for traditional artisans. The organization promotes livelihoods connected with local landscapes rich in cultural expression through training, design, materials and market development, to revive the crafts traditions of the Pamirs in ways that are ecologically and economically sustainable.