Kolkata: With the immense success in Bengal and in other parts of the country, the Refugee Handicrafts have now become successful in making Joyee footballs for the Chinese consulate in Kolkata.
Refugee Handicrafts, which was set up in 1950 to help refugees earn their livelihood, had lost all its importance due to the lackadaisical attitude of the erstwhile Left Front government. Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee finally set up the Refugee Handicrafts Managing Committee comprising veteran football players and revived the organisation.
Making footballs was one of the key sectors that played a crucial role in revival of Refugee Handicrafts that functions under the supervision of the state MSME department.
Manas Bhattacharya, the chairman of the committee, said: "The Chinese Consulate in Kolkata had tested the footballs that were being prepared by us and subsequently they placed an order for 850 Challenger Joyee footballs. The footballs have been supplied to the consulate."
"We are hopeful that they will place orders for more number of footballs in future. Besides showing interest for football, there were also queries for other handicraft goods that are being made by members of Refugee Handicrafts," said Bhattacharya.
He further said Joyee footballs are in use at nine centres of the Sports Authority of India (SAI) including Cuttack, Dhanbad and Kolkata.
Members of the Refugee Handicrafts mostly women got involved in the making of Joyee footballs and they were provided with the necessary training. They have made more than 1 lakh footballs during the FIFA Under-17 Football World Cup that held in October 2017.
The Mamata Banerjee government took several steps to promote the Joyee footballs and the state government had distributed it among Durga Puja organisers ahead of Durga Puja in 2017. The footballs were displayed outside Puja Mandaps and it helped in promotion.
Similarly, two footballs were given to each of the 12,000 local clubs in the state ahead of the FIFA Under-17 Football World Cup and to encourage more youth to get involved in
Footballs were also distributed in educational institutions including all high schools, higher secondary schools, high Madrassas and colleges and police lines to promote. Each of these institutions got five footballs.
Bhattacharya said the success of Joyee footballs has helped Refugee Handicrafts in its revival and now steps are also being taken for better promotion of other handicraft goods as well.