When De Pamiri started its work, the founders defined some goals that should go along with the project. The most important of these principles are:
• revive tradtional folk handicraft
• preserve and develop the specific culture of Pamiri people
• improve the life condition of its partners
• promote livelihood opportunities using available local resources that are sustainable and responsive to market demand
• foster the exchange of the knowledge and skills of the handicraft producers
Although De Pamiri is doing great work, it is not easy to completely follow these principles all the time. Nowadays in the De Pamiri shop, you also can find products that are not related to Pamiri culture at all, but which are the result of trying to copy western designs. We understand very well that the artisans are happy to sell their products through the De Pamiri shops and that this is the aim of this project. But in the meantime, some artisans bring products that are made from oddments or synthetic yarn.
These products are not marketable at all, neither for tourists nor for the local market. We believe that De Pamiri should stop accepting products which are not in accordance with the project’s aims. This brings us to the next problem: in the staff of De Pamiri there is nobody who could afford to reject unsuitable or low quality products. The De Pamiri depends on the artisans’ willingness to produce (traditional) handicrafts and fears that rejecting products may result in the loss of cooperating artisans. We therefore suggest that De Pamiri should rethink their goals and maybe employ one person from outside who could work together with artisans to improve product quality.
Another problem – one we have already mentioned several times – is how to deal with money and the selling prices. Some artisans were discontent when they compared their earning with the final sales price in the De Pamiri shop. They complained about the price difference and wondered why they gain less money than the sales price.
“The artisans don’t care about culture, they are only interested in money. If you want them to produce something, you should think about the prices. It’s all about money!” (De Pamiri about artisans)
Maybe for some artisans, it is difficult to understand the necessity of De Pamiri’s work and why the project need the surplus of money. Since 2010, De Pamiri does not get any money from previous donors and is financially self-sustainable.