Iranian women showcasing unique and traditional embroideries to the world
Early summer, 10 women from Sistan and Baluchistan Province were selected to represent Iran at the 2022 International Handicraft Fair in Lisbon, Portugal.
The delegates got the opportunity to showcase their embroideries and other handicrafts to a large international audience at the Iranian stall. As the trip was also designed as a study tour, the women got opportunities to network and build relations with traders and buyers, and to learn about market access for local products.
The study tour was organized by the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) in Iran which is currently implementing a project about Handicrafts and Embroideries in the country’s most south-eastern province bordering Pakistan. The UN entity is supporting the livelihood and economic empowerment of vulnerable communities, often with a strong focus on women and youth.
FIA Lisboa, as the exhibition is shortened in Portuguese, is the second-largest craftsmanship and multicultural trade market in Europe. It describes itself as a “true meeting of cultures and culture show, where you can share emotions and revisit traditions.” As such it is an excellent platform for promoting tradition-bound, modern, and highly professional craftsmanship from all over the world – a challenge that the women from Sistan and Baluchistan took upon them.
Iran’s Ministry of Tourism and Handicraft had been involved in selecting the 11 delegates and ensured that they represented the best aspects of the regional and local culture, not only able to present the embroidery skills but also capable of talking about gastronomy, local natural resources, cultural activities – anything that could attract tourists to come visit.
During the opening ceremony, the Iranian Ambassador to Portugal Mr. Morteza Damanpak Jami, and Portugal’s Deputy Minister of Labour visited the UNIDO-Iran booth and both expressed their gratitude and support for the initiative.
As a result of the visit, Iranian embroidery skills were of course shown to an interested audience. At the same time, the women were developing business opportunities, with other businesses and directly with potential customers. The women also visited many of their colleagues from other countries from Europe, North Africa, and India, getting inspiration and insights to develop their own skills, marketing, and sales opportunities.
The project is funded by the Government of Japan.