Father Watrin's: Gonga Bu Weavers

Happening Issue 71 Jul, 2010
Text by Dinesh Rai

“Location, location, location!” is what they say when it comes to selling power, but the showroom of the ‘Gonga Bu Weavers’ is just in the wrong location. Their products however, are of high quality. Selling anything from bed-covers to shirts and pants, the showroom is overcrowded with their products. On display are mostly cotton products, but they also have shirts and scarves made of allo and hemp, both natural fibers.  Although founded by members of the Godavari Alumni Association (GAA comprising graduates of St. Xavier’s School) Fr. Watrin’s patronage played a key role as according to Managing Director L.T. Lama, the business suffered after the sad demise of the well-known priest. “It was only when Fr. Greg took over that things started looking up again,” says Lama.

‘Father Watrin’s Gonga Bu Weavers’ is a cooperative project dedicated to teaching income-generating skills to disadvantaged women. The aim is to teach them the art of weaving and finishing hand loomed goods, thus making them self-sufficient. The cooperative has already celebrated its 25th anniversary and was renamed in Fr. Watrin’s memory only recently.  Today it is totally under the patronage of the Nepal Jesuits. At Gonga Bu, GA’s other project SAV also runs a clinic where medicines are distributed free of cost while the health check fee is minimal.

The shop is full of colorful hand-made products like bags, hats, mufflers, napkins, cushion covers and many more. The brilliant colors make their products attractive and Lama informs, “The hotels and restaurants like our products and give quite good business, but because of our location on a narrow road, few people come by.” Located in the lane that leads to Malla Hotel, the showroom lies in front of the GA Hall where few shoppers would venture.

“All the work is done at Gonga Bu where 10 to 12 women work through the day. Except for planting and harvesting time when these women take to the fields, they are always here working. They come in the morning and go back home in the evening, so we provide them bus fare. We weave our own cloth which are color fast, and since our products are handmade, they are unique,” remarks Lama who has vast experience in the production and marketing of hand loomed fabric.

For details: 4416416, 2319999,
GAA premises, Thamel