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Welfare fund for needy handicraft artistes

The National Crafts Council (NCC) has formulated a plan to assist old and disabled handicraft artistes by opening a welfare fund. The NCC has taken this decision following a meeting held between old and disabled handicraft artistes with President Mahinda Rajapaksa, the NCC said.

NCC Development Assistant Geethani Weeratunge told The Island Financial Review that the NCC Chairman would commence the programme 2009 National Award Ceremony to be held in 2010.

She said the handicrafts industry in Sri Lanka had been a legacy of veteran as well as hereditary handicrafts artistes since ancient times and the creations produced by them were of culturally significant. The NCC was of the view that the younger generation, especially those who were engaged in the industry would protect the industry.

Ms.Weeratunge said that under the new programme handicraft artistes above 70 years of age and disabled artistes would be assisted through the welfare fund. The NCC had already been maintaining a welfare scheme and this scheme was instrumental in providing necessary tools, releasing funds for illnesses, education and training in handicraft industry and finding handicraft markets for the crafstmen. The expansion of the welfare fund for old and disabled artistes would be extremely helpful.

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