"Nepal is a rich country in terms of traditional architecture. However, the new generation isn't accepting of it as a profession. I am glad we are producing some manpower to conserve our cultural heritage." – Prachanda
The closure of the sculpture training institute run by Aksheshwor Mahabihar (a Buddhist monastery) in 2004, the only one of its kind at the time, led Prachanda and his team to start their own institute—Nepal Traditional Handicraft Training Centre. Being born into a family of craftsmen, he had the opportunity to learn from his father and forefathers. Providing training opportunities in traditional Buddhist handicraft making, the institute works towards conserving the very skills which have been attracting thousands of tourists to Nepal. And it provides this opportunity to all people irrespective of their caste and background. One of the five winners at the Surya Nepal Asha Social Entrepreneurship Award 2012, the institute has trained 11 batches of students and at least five professionally-skilled individuals are developed every year.
Prachanda is working on building an affiliation with Tribhuvan University's Arts department and plans to start a gallery to showcase and sell his students' works. As an additional attraction for visitors wanting to try their hand at traditional craftsmanship, the institute also provides one day courses.