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Prabartana, Bangladesh

Prabartana is a Bengali word meaning an 'act of promotion'. The aim is to introduce and promote the product of handloom weaving and local production. It was established in the year 1989 with a very simple objective to promote the products of the local artisans and thereby pave the way toward revitalization of our traditional rural industries.

It is the result of research work done by UBINIG - the policy research and advocacy organisation. Since 1986, UBINIG has conducted research on the situation of the handloom industries and from the findings concluded that unless promotional activities are carried out this sector will face tremendous adverse consequences leading to the unemployment and misery of the people related to the industry. It was very important to relay this to the policy makers. Moreover, since consumers also need to be educated and given proper information about the availability and the exquisite qualities of the home-based product, direct involvement with marketing became necessary.

Prabartana thus appeared as a clearinghouse and the national and international marketing outlet for weavers in different parts of the county and for handicraft artisans to sell and promote their products. From the smart 4-floored store in Dhaka city, Prabartana has been able to market the products of the weavers from important weaving pockets of the country including Tangail, Dhaka (Demra) Rajshahi Chapainababganj comilla, Norshindi and from the indigenous people in the Chittagong Hill Tracts (such as Rangamati).


woman Chakma weaving, Chittagong hill tract, Bangladesh
Chakma weaving, Chittagong hill tract

woman preparing warp for jamdani weaving,  Bangladesh
preparation of warp for jamdani weaving

Prabartana is a specialist in its field and known for various types of handloom product coming from different parts of the country. Among them, the Nakshi-Buti Sarees from Tangail, Jamdani from Dhaka, Silk from Rajshahi and Chapainababgonj and varieties of jacquard sarees from Shahzadpur are worth mentioning. Also, handcrafted leather products, ceramics, embroidery work, etc.. are found in the shop supplied by various artisans from different areas. Prabartana also runs a factory to produce yardage fabric for a variety of clothes. Produced exclusively with cotton yarn, these fabrics have earned a great reputation among the customers. Yardage of raw silk is also made.

Further, our constant survey of the weavers and production areas identifies craft-skills and capabilities of the weavers in different parts of Bangladesh. Because of this knowledge, Prabartana can provide a unique service for new designs and ideas to be translated into products and marketable items. We know exactly who can produce what and at what cost.

Therefore through the work of UBINIG, purchases from Prabartana directly benefit the producer, because profit is not deducted as is usually the case with middlemen. Producers are also encouraged to take an active role in Prabartana. People who are engaged in the handloom business benefit from their association with us. Prabartana is for the weavers and the artisans.

Prabartana is a member of Dhaka Chamber of Commerce and Industries, National Crafts Council of Bangladesh and Bangladesh Handicrafts Manufacturers and Exporters Association. Prabartana is also a partner of the Ecota Forum.

Shamim Shahid, Prabartana