A History of Creative Center

The founder

Adam Maniku at his workshop in Sri Lanka.

Mr. Adam Maniku is a trained banker and international financier with higher degrees in finance, economics, development banking and national development planning.  He is a highly accomplished policy-maker in the field of national and international development. He has over thirty years of experience at policy making levels, both nationally and internationally, in the areas of finance, banking, poverty-alleviation and transport systems. During the course of his career, he has served, inter alia,  as the secretary of the Ministry of Shipping, the Deputy Minister of Finance and Treasury, the General Manager of the Maldives Monetary Authority, the Deputy Minister of the Department of Transport and Communications, and an alternate governor to the IMF, World Bank, IDB and ADB.  Mr Maniku has served on the Addu Development Authority, and has chaired the Majeedhiya School Board. His last official post was to serve as the honorable Secretary-General of the Colombo Plan.  

Mr. Maniku is also an accomplished author, artist and poet. He published the first book in the Dhivehi language on economics.  He has completed a number of projects in fine arts, photography, interior design and hydroponics. He has strong interests in fine arts, poetry, woodworking, computer-aided design, and philosophy, and is widely known for his insightful Dhivehi poetry. 

Mr. Maniku has also been instrumental in developing the Maldives tourism sector. He has been a pioneer in designing and advising management of a number of resorts, and has contributed to the government’s efforts to continuously advance the participation of Maldivians in tourism development.  As a result of his involvement in tourism development, Mr. Maniku became concerned that indigenous handicraft traditions in the Maldives were disappearing, and that indigenous handicrafts were being displaced by inexpensive souvenirs imported from India, China, Thailand, Indonesia and other parts of southeast Asia. 

To respond to this challenge, in the year 2000, Mr. Maniku founded and organized the first Maldivian Creative Arts and Crafts Training Center.  This was established to provide training to talented youth of the outer atolls in making handicrafts, jewelry and creative carpentry products using the latest technology available. This was also aimed at preserving ancient woodturning and wood lacquer varnishing traditions, as well as providing skills to youth to enable them to earn a living in their own islands. Over the ten years in which the CACTC in Villingili was established, it trained more than 65 students ranging from 15 to 25 years of age. These students produced and sold in his Heritage shop in male, a wide range of handicraft products, drawing on indigenous designs.  Those who received training in the CACTC are now working in various jobs in resorts and some have started their own businesses in construction and maintenance.  

Vision & Mission

Creative Arts & Crafts Training Center (CACTC) was established with the aim of guiding the youth of the Maldives to seek answers to the questions of their identity. Through training, deriving experience from the rich culture and traditions, and embracing the most innovative tools and technologies available in the field of creative arts and crafts, CACTC hopes to give youth vital skills in independent problem solving.

Globalization has become an inevitable fixture in our contemporary landscape, a process that is both inviting and threatening at the same time. Maintaining our cultural identity in this shrinking world is now a fact of life of every citizen in this global society. It is therefore essential to revitalize the knowledge and skills of the past to give us direction in this era of fluid and dynamic change.


One of the challenges in maintaining a steady training course is ensuring that students are able to attend lessons and workshop sessions. CACTC was able to overcome this by providing boarding facilities in the satellite island of Villingili, a seven minute ferry ride away from Male’.

Accommodation was provided for students from other islands, who have the creative artistic talents and the zest for innovation. These students are often those who have been unable to afford or attend schooling above the 7th grade, other forms of higher education, and those with physical and learning disabilities.

Unfortunately, the high costs of living in Male’ has meant that only a limited number of students could be accommodated. The CACTC offered spots for 6 students, but those who could find alternative accommodation came daily for their training.