Maldives has always been dependent on foreign products for economic stability and fulfillment of basic needs. The lack of locally made products is so vast that tourists often complain about the genuineness of the items available. However, a local NGO, Naifaru Juvenile has renewed hopes for local products by launching its own brand of fish leather, “Maldives Originals”.
Naifaru Juvenile from Lhaviyani Atoll broke the anticipation to launch its own brand of “truly Maldivian” fish leather. Although the “Maldives Originals” brand leather products does not have a reliable market at present, this is a line of work that can be undertaken by young Maldivians seeking employment prospects.
Deputy Chairperson of Naifaru Juvenile, Mohamed Ahmed (Kamma) said that when they perceived the idea to produce leather from fish skin, an intensive research was made to find methods to create these products. He said that a Swedish national who has been successful in the business was brought to the Maldives to provide training for 10 Maldivians.
Basically, two main methods are used to produce leather from fish skin. One method is a tanning method embarked by using olive oil and chicken eggs and the other is a traditional tanning method. Naifaru Juvenile is using these two methods to create their leather products.
The tanning method using olive oil and chicken eggs can be completed within 48 hours while about a week is taken to create the final product using the traditional method as it needs leaves and tree barks.
The Art shop of Naifaru Juvenile showcases products made out of leather from different types of reef fish. Products made out of reef fish leather include key chains, straps and other materials. Naifaru Juvenile hopes that wallets and phone cases made out of fish leather will be introduced to the market within a month.
Naifaru Juvenile believes that this work is an easy ad profitable opportunity that can be undertaken by housewives. This is also a huge step to reduce the number of souvenir items imported into the country and to increase the number of locally made products. Naifaru Juvenile is aspiring to bring truly “Made in Maldives” products to the thousands of tourists visiting the country every year.