Kelzang Wangchuk | Samdrupjongkhar

The pandemic had impacted weavers in Nagzor-Wooling chiwog of Orong gewog in Samdrupjongkhar, who depended on weaving.

For most women in the locality, who formed a weaving group in 2012, weaving was their main source of income.

The group members weave rachu, belts, and tablecloths and normally earn about Nu 30,000 to Nu 40,000 a month. However, the Covid-19 pandemic severely impacted their business.

The group chairman, Yangchen Tshomo, 37, said they never faced problems selling their products before the pandemic.

She said rachu fetched them Nu 2,000 to Nu 2,500, tablecloths were sold at Nu 3,000 to Nu 5,000 and belts at Nu 250 to Nu 500. “The business was profitable for us.”

According to Yangchen Tshomo, without a market in the locality now, she has had to send about 40 rachus and a few tablecloths to Thimphu, because she could not sell them in Samdrupjongkhar.

A group member, Kelzang Choden, said previously, she did not have a problem selling her products which she sold mostly to Samdrupjongkhar and Mela Bazar in Assam, India.

She said the pandemic had affected their business badly because they could not send their products to Thimphu. “I used to earn about Nu 20,000 to Nu 30,000 a month selling the products before.”

Kelzang Choden said one of the local shopkeepers in the village used to take all their textile products, but he has also stopped the business for now, as he could not go anywhere due to the pandemic.

The group members increased to about 37 from 16 because the business was profitable, but now most members weave on wages at home.

“We used to get many orders from the customers before, but we don’t get them now. We now weave others’ clothes on wages as it’s challenging to sell our products at this time,” Yangchen Tshomo said.

Edited by Tashi Dema