Fellow Since 1989
Nepal Creative Art Trust
This profile was prepared when Urmila Upadhaya Garg was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 1989.
The New Idea
Urmila is devoting her considerable talents to two goals - giving poor women a chance in life and helping her country develop an independent, successful, culturally true textile capacity.She has already launched the Nepal Creative Art Trust. It gives it's disadvantaged students skills that will give them independence while also building a high standard of skill to underpin the country's traditional crafts. She takes in poor rural women for a three year course in all design and production aspects of textiles and ceramics, including tapestry, rug and cloth weaving, wool and cotton spinning, macramé, knitting and sewing, and dyeing. At the same time she ensures that the women get a solid basic education, When these students graduate she follows up, encouraging them both to take up work and to train others. To help finance the Trust she is now also planning a direct production unit.Having begun this entry level unit, Urmila is ready to take up the next step -- the creation of the Textile Institute. It will train the most able, creative textile designers in the country, including the Creative Arts Trust's most talented graduates. Like the Trust, it will integrate design and production techniques. However, Urmila will expect the Institute and it's graduates to do what she has done as an individual before - provide Nepal's textile workers with new or improved products, innovations true to the culture that will give it both an economic edge and a highly visible element of national identity.