A small workshop has been opened in Hpakant to train women recovering from drug addiction in the skill of jade cutting.
The Kachin National Development Foundation—Amyusha Zinlum Hpung in the Jinghpaw language—opened the shop at the end of last year in Mawsizar ward. Drug use is rife in the area and the mining industry, with heroin widely abused.
“Even though anti-drug campaigns have been launched, both men and women who already stopped using drugs have used drugs again because they didn’t have jobs,” Latung Sau Bawm, who works with the foundation, told KNG. “We are trying to create jobs for these women who have stopped using drugs. Women play a very important role in a family. That’s why we are focusing on and providing assistance to women first.”
Six women working with the Kachin anti-drug movement Pat Ja San have been trained in the workshop’s first batch.
According to Kachin National Development Foundation, these women will be trained to cut jade stones and to make value-added jade products, rather than selling only raw jade.