By ROSELYN ELLISON
AS economic activities slow down and people are forced to stay home with reduced or no pay, women such as Dessie Elias are doing what they can to put food on the table for their families.
A seamstress of sort, Dessie is among those who make meri blouse (kolos) in East New Britain. It is a popular money-earner for women and girls to support themselves and their families.
Dessie is from Navunaram village in the Central Gazelle local level government of Gazelle district. She loves producing blouse crochets neck line (double knitting) patterns, and other unique designs from Navunaram.
She believes that many women prefer knitted blouses which are done manually using threads and needles. It takes time to do one but blouse neck lines patterns and designs are very popular.
While their small business are not regulated by any law or their own designs under patent, she is concerned that others are copying her own designs and patterns. And she cannot do anything about that.
“It is good that women are tapping into the meri-blouse industry but my concern is the knitting patterns and designs for blouse necklines.
“Women and mothers must not copy or steal knitting patterns or designs that are the original work of others.
“ We are all trying to make a living during this hard times. If the government is emphasising on the development of small to medium enterprise, it must play its role in regulating it, giving everyone a fair go.”
“From my creativity and talent, I started the crochet knitting style and pattern in 2013. Now I can see many women have copied that style.”
Dessie first came up with the neck line pattern and wanted to share it with her family.
And she believes that since it is her own design, others who want to copy it should at least seek her permission to do so. Not doing so is tantamount to stealing.
“People must follow proper procedures and ask permission. They must not to steal others’ work.
“My advice to women who are into the meri blouse business is to come up with their own patterns and design and not copy others. I am willing to help those looking for new patters.”
She urged women not to copy her work.
“Such art and handwork is God’s blessing upon one person. Many copying it are making money out of it by running courses in their homes.”
She urges the Government to regulate such small businesses so that women such as her can profit from their creativity, sweat and hard work.
Dessie believes that during these hard times, everyone must work hard and be creative to compete fairly in the business world.
Many women involved in small businesses to support their families are now without a source of income during the state of emergency period.
Dessie and others are hoping that everything will return to normal soon and everyone is given a level-playing field to compete on.
“We are all trying to make a living during this hard times. If the government is emphasising on the development of small to medium enterprise, it must play its role in regulating it, giving everyone a fair go.”