Bangladesh

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© Ten Thousand Villages

Baghda Enterprises

Bagdha Enterprises provides employment for rural Bangladeshi women. Women come together in a central location to clean, sort and spin hemp fibers into rope and twine. The twine may then be used to make products such as purses and bath mitts. Many families depend solely on craft income to support themselves. An all-women management committee now directs the association’s business. Benefits to producers include medical assistance and a producer development fund.  Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) began Bagdha Enterprises in 1982 to create employment for rural women. From a remote village with few resources and women with no education or employment experience, Bagdha has transformed the lives of these women artisans, their families and community. Bagdha now exports its products through various fair trade organizations in a number of countries.

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CORR: The Jute Works

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© SERRV

CORR: The Jute Works (CJW) was started in 1973 by CARITAS/Bangladesh, a Catholic service organization, to help rural women provide supplemental income for their families. CJW continues to bring about qualitative changes in women's lives by providing them with opportunity for economic viability and social progress.  At present, 3,524 artisans, who are members of 154 artisan groups, are supported by CJW's work. CJW provides product design assistance, access to a credit fund, and trainings that deal with issues that affect artisans lives, like leadership development, women's rights, HIV-AIDS awareness, and accounting. CJW also uses part of the funds from craft sales to provide educational support to poor students who would not otherwise have a chance to attend school.  Many of CJW's products are made from jute, a sustainable fiber found abundantly in Bangladesh. CJW has been working with jute farmers who had begun to abandon their harvest because of low prices. Together, they are developing production of high quality, organic, fair trade jute that will benefit CJW and small farmers.

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Dhaka Handicrafts

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© Ten Thousand Villages

Dhaka Handicrafts is a craft producing and exporting organization that has expanded its business throughout the world on the basis of fair trade principles. The organization promotes craft products through enhancing the skills of rural artisans in Bangladesh. All products are produced after careful analysis of Western taste and demands in terms of design and materials. The primary goal is to maintain high quality products for which artisans are paid fairly. Dhaka Handicrafts deals with its artisans in a transparent manner, and seeks to improve their social and economic well-being. Self-reliance is encouraged through a savings plan for artisans.

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Hajiganj

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Hajiganj works with marginalized people in Bangladesh's Nilphamari District. The group is located in one of the poorest areas in Bangladesh, where people are mostly dependent on hiring out to rich farmers who pay very low wages. Benefits to artisans include profit distribution, a producer security fund, medical allowance and skill development.  Hajiganj was established in 1998 in the village of the same name, in northwestern Bangladesh. Initially the women artisans made baskets from kaisa grass, later adding a crochet unit.

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Prokritee

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© Ten Thousand Villages

Prokritee (meaning “nature” in Bengali) manages several handicraft enterprises and helps other groups sell their products in local and foreign markets.  Prokritee and its enterprises provide jobs for poor rural women.  By providing jobs for women, Prokritee improves women’s standard of living and helps them send their children to school.  The organization provides skills development training to artisans.  Prokritee creates and promotes income–generating projects that benefit the artisans, adhere to good safety and environmental standards, and have the potential to become self–reliant. Prokritee was established in 2001 as an independent organization.

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Rishilpi Development Projects

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© Ten Thousand Villages

 

Rishilpi, a nonprofit, nongovernmental development organization in southwest Bangladesh, was founded to improve the lives of people of the Rishi caste. "Rishilp" is formed from two Bengali words, "Rishi," denoting the caste, and "shilpi," meaning artist or craftsman. Rishi, traditionally leather workers, for centuries have lived at the margins of Bengali society. Generally landless, with no easy access to schools, many struggled in a continual search for work to survive. In addition to income generation, Rishilpi conducts relief and development work in rural Bangladesh communities. Benefits to artisans include education sponsorship, health care, microcredit savings programs and early marriage prevention support for their adolescent daughters.

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Saidpur Enterprises

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Saidpur Enterprises comprises two groups: Action Bag Handicrafts and Eastern Screen Printers. Its Action Bag subsidiary employs women artisans who make a variety of jute products. Some have husbands who are underemployed; others are widowed. Action Bag provides literacy classes, and training on nutrition, women's legal rights, educational awareness and finance. Following the 1971 war that established Bangladesh, Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) started clinics and nutrition centers in Saidpur to help address food shortages and disease. In 1976 MCC began a program to help mothers of malnourished children coming to its nutrition center. This temporary employment program became Action Bag Handicrafts, and now supports artisans selling for the fair trade export market.

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India

Aravali

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Aravali is a for-profit company supporting the work of close to 150 artisans in the Jaipur area, primarily men working in blockprinting workshops in and around Jaipur, as well as women in Rajasthan who produce embroidered items. Manager Rahul Duggal sees their greatest strength as their commitment to forming long-term relationships; Aravali has been working with many of the same workshops for 10 years or longer. Their target wages are slightly higher than the local market. The workshops are within a relatively close geographical range, which allows Aravali to maintain close contact with the artisans, despite their small administrative staff.  Aravali began in 1976 as a small clothing boutique. In the early 1980s, its focus shifted toward home decor. Aravali has maintained a relationship with fair trade over many years.

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Archana Handicrafts

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Archana Handicrafts is a private business committed to helping Indian artisans by encouraging, developing and selling their traditional handicrafts. Archana means "a thing of truth and beauty" in the Sanskrit language. Headquartered in New Delhi, Archana markets products from artisan groups throughout India. Artisan groups range from single members to families to entire villages making brass and shesham wood items. Archana assists craftspeople with banking, design, training and management. The organization is committed to the principle of fair trade, and strives to practice fair trade throughout its supply chain, giving artisans a better standard of living. Archana supports small businesses as a way to help family artisans stay and thrive in their home villages. Archana encourages environmentally sustainable practices.

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Asha Handicrafts

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© SERRV

Asha Handicrafts has been a leading fair trade organization in India for over 30 years. Asha, which in Sanskrit means 'hope", is a non-profit organization that was started in 1975 with the mandate to Trade, Train & Transform.  Committed to the values of preserving the diverse craft traditions of India and ensuring a fair wage for artisans, Asha's model is to do business in a way that transforms lives. Today, Asha is impacting the lives of hundreds of artisans, working with more than fifty cooperatives and family workshops throughout India.  In addition to providing needed income through the sales of handcraft products, Asha is committed to the overall well being of artisans. Asha welfare workers work closely with artisans and their families to provide medical care, educational assistance for children, and to improve the living and working conditions of the artisans. Other benefits include interest-free loans, training, and advances to purchase raw materials.  Asha's products represent the rich diversity of handcraft traditions in India and include silk, stone, wood, jewelry, textiles, paper maché and brass products, all of exceptional quality.

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CFM Market Linkages Pvt Ltd.

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© Ten Thousand Villages

 

CFM Market Linkages works with artisan communities throughout India, with most communities being in the Delhi / Uttar Pradesh region. In each community, CFM recruits a local “artisan entrepreneur” who manages production and works on a commission basis. CFM staff is comprised of “merchandisers” who work on design and develop product collections. CFM Market Linkages started in 2006 with funding from the Ford Foundation and the Hivos Foundation. While new, the group is growing quickly and they are ready to take their place within India’s fair trade community.

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Conserve India-Handbags

 © Global Crafts

© Global Crafts

Born of a desire to reduce India's mountain of waste, improve energy efficiency, and help some of Delhi's poorest out of the city's slums, Conserve India achieves all this by turning plastic bags into high fashion handbags.

Conserve started as a fledgling recycling project but quickly adapted to confront the biggest challenge it was facing, what to do with the thousands of plastic bags that could not be composted or recycled locally.

After much experimentation, the Conserve team hit upon the idea of not recycling, but upcycling by washing, drying, and pressing the bags into sheets.  Handmade Recycled Plastic (HRP) was born and designs for handbags, wallets, shoes and belts quickly came flooding in. The challenge was obvious: Use high fashion to support better lives for the poorest and a cleaner environment for all.

Today, Conserve India employs and trains hundreds of people from Delhi's most disadvantaged communities to clear their streets of the plague of plastic bag waste. Once the waste bags are turned into HRP products they are sold for profits which can be spent in those same communities on education and welfare programmes.

By buying a Conserve bag, belt, wallet, shoe, or necklace, you not only get to be a trend setter with a beautiful, funky piece of high fashion - you will also be helping some of India's poorest people, and its environment.

© Global Crafts

 

CRC Exports Private Limited

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© Ten Thousand Villages

Craft Resource Center (CRC Exports Private Limited) helps informally organized artisan groups to develop self-sustaining businesses. CRC seeks to develop economic self-sufficiency for a vulnerable segment of society through traditional handcrafting skills. CRC provides marketing, design, finance and exporting assistance to a large number of artisan groups across India. CRC also provides raw materials, production coordination between groups and additional training. CRC considers artisans more important than products. This concern for artisans translates into a broader commitment to help others within the CRC network. Because of CRC’s coordination of craft production between different artisan groups, artisans have a high level of connectedness and cooperation. Artisan groups have been able to work together in partnership in times of need.

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IFFAD

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© Ten Thousand Villages

The International Foundation for Fairtrade and Development (IFFAD), based in Chennai, India, is a not–for–profit organization promoting the economic and social well–being of marginalized people through production and marketing of a wide range of handmade items. Producers with disabilities, rural women and traditional artisans benefit from skill development, business training and product design through IFFAD. Eighty to 90 percent of the artisans are women; almost all have limited schooling.

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Madhya Kalikata Shilpangan

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© SERRV

Madhya Kalikata Shilpangan works with 26 artisan groups, representing over 2,600 individual artisans involved in silk weaving and printing, stone carving, and leather. They offer marketing, design, and export services to grassroots artisan groups in India and have helped to improve the lives of groups like the Hazra Road Women's Craft Center, where women living in poverty in poor neighborhoods of Kolkata provide an important source of income to their families through the sales of their crafts.  MKS also supports silk weavers living in rural areas of India, who have been struggling with the decline in the market for silk. The silk that is spun and woven by the weavers is sent to master screen printers, many of whom learned the trade from their parents or grandparents. They print the scarves and other silk products sold by MKS, combining the skills of several artisan groups.

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MarketPlace: Handwork of India

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© SERRV

MarketPlace: Handwork of India is a non-profit fair trade organization working to empower women in the poor areas of Mumbai through the sales of their hand printed and embroidered textiles.  Earning a living and supporting their families have given the women who are part of MarketPlace the independence and self-confidence to develop their own opinions, values and dreams. The 480 artisans who work with MarketPlace are part of 14 member cooperatives near Mumbai. They each have a background of economic hardship and limited access to employment opportunities in the general community but share the desire to become strong and independent. The women not only produce the textiles (block print, cut patterns, embroider), but are also active in many areas of the organization.  They shoot photos and write for the catalog, participate in planning designs and catalog layout, have representatives who participate on a social action committee, and engage in a global dialogue with U.S. customers. Running their own businesses empowers the women, and working together gives them support and encouragement. With offices in Illinois and India, MarketPlace offers beautiful and unique textiles infused with stories of the women who helped create them.

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MESH

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© Ten Thousand Villages

MESH (Maximizing Employment to Serve the Handicapped) is a nonprofit organization that works with people with disabilities, many of whom are former leprosy patients. MESH provides training, marketing and exporting for numerous member groups. Increasingly, they are hiring people with disabilities to give administrative leadership. MESH works with leprosy colonies and rehabilitation workshops in villages all over India, ensuring fair wages.  Established in the 1970s and registered in 1981, MESH was founded to provide opportunities for disabled people and their dependents, especially those affected by leprosy. Their goal is self-sufficiency for artisans. MESH is a fair trade company that exports products to fair trade organizations around the world.

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Noah's Ark

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© SERRV

Noah's Ark serves low income artisans in India and is a long time member of the World Fair Trade Organization.  The mission of Noah's Ark is to commit to fair trade and to change lives of grass root artisans through education and capacity building. Noah's Ark strives for their artisans to stand on their own feet and become more aware of fair working conditions and the environment in order to prove the value, cultural heritage and beauty of their hand made products. Noah's Ark works with 49 artisan groups and makes a wide variety of products including textiles, wood products and home accessories.

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Palam Rural Centre

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© Ten Thousand Villages

Palam Rural Centre (People’s Association for Leather and Allied Manufacturing) offers employment opportunities to people of the marginalized Harijan community in a village in Tamil Nadu region, southeastern India. In the Tamil language, Palam also means "bridge." Palam Rural Centre seeks to build a "bridge" to the markets of the rest of the world. With money from product sales, Palam has purchased land and homes for artisans (ownership traditionally unavailable to lower castes) and built a school for artisans’ children. Other artisan benefits include health care and retirement pensions. Palam artisans see education of their children as the key to hope and change. Through this work, Palam Rural Centre is providing dignity and security to artisans and helping to break down caste walls in society.

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Poocharam Federation

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© Ten Thousand Villages

Poocharam Kaniyambadi Block Federation For Rural Women Self Help Groups, or Poocharam Federation, is a community-based organization committed to artisan development. based in Vellore, India, in the southern state of Tamil Nadu. The organization is focused on empowering women, and seeks to rectify gender inequality by giving women financial power. Artisans are all women from disadvantaged landless families. Poocharam Federation is also proud of its advocacy work in encouraging women to be politically involved. Currently, some 30 women leaders within Poocharam Federation hold local office, and the organization continues to encourage political and community involvement among its members. Benefits for artisans include HIV prevention training and other empowerment programs, loan programs, and a uniform and education fund. Poocharam Federation also supports programs for primary school children and environmental awareness.

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Sasha Craft Producers

 © SERRV

© SERRV

The sustained work of Sasha Association for Craft Producers with more than 100 crafts groups has helped to revive dying arts and skills, provide artisans with a livelihood, and revitalize craft communities. Sasha's success has been in combining community development with handcraft marketing. The non-profit marketing arm finds needed outlets for handcrafts, while capacity building and other development projects are coordinated by the Sasha Enterprise Development Foundation.  Sasha represents crafts producers from rural and semi-urban areas, mostly in eastern India, who benefit from health campaigns, improved working conditions, and stable incomes. Nearly 70% of the producers Sasha works with are women. Sasha's unique model of organizing groups into larger crafts consortiums means that groups specializing in different aspects of textiles, such as embroidery, printing, and tailoring, combine their skills to make unique products that are exported around the world and also sold in their own store in Kolkata. Sasha's designers have developed a wide range of silk and other textile crafts which are favorites among our customers.

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Silence

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© Ten Thousand Villages

Silence is a self–help project for artisans who are deaf or physically disabled. In a country where unemployment is high, people who are disabled rarely find work. The situation is even more difficult for women with disabilities. Silence works to help their artisans become self–sufficient and earn their living, training team members in different skills. After completing Silence’s training courses, artisans are encouraged to move into commercial housing so that new artisans can be trained. Silence artisans produce incense sticks, candles, greeting cards and jewelry. These are exported or sold locally at Silence’s retail store. Artisan benefits include a retirement fund, health and personal accident insurance, profit sharing and certification of disability to qualify for free bus transit and reduced government taxation.

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St. Mary's Mahila Shikshan Kendra

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© Ten Thousand Villages

St Mary's Mahila Shikshan Kendra is a women's handicraft organization run by the Dominican Sisters in Gomtipur, Ahmedabad. This area of Ahmedabad, once known for its textile mills, suffered much unemployment since global competition closed the mills in the 1980s. It continues to attract landless laborers who come searching for work. Artisans of St. Mary's create embroidery in the tradition of the Kathiawadis, a craft more than a thousand years old.  The artisans of St. Mary's share in decision-making and project responsibilities. The organization runs a dispensary and maternity clinic that caters to the poor and marginalized women in the area. It also runs health programs, a savings program, sewing education and children's education programs.

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Tara Projects

 © SERRV

© SERRV

Tara Projects has been working since the early 1970s to fight exploitation, poverty, and the protection of rights of artisans against social injustices. Over the years, they have extended their services to reach nearly 1,000 artisans in several states in India.  They provide support in the production and marketing of handcrafts based on fair trade principles while also addressing community development needs of grassroots craftspeople. With revenues generated by the sales of handcrafts, Tara Projects funds a number of community development projects, such as health programs, non-formal schools, training centers, and adult literacy programs which are impacting the lives of hundreds of children and adults, and helping children to stay in school.  Their commitment to the environment includes reforestation projects and most recently rainwater harvesting projects to address the extreme demand for water in many regions of India. Tara has become a leading voice in the movement opposing the use of child labor in India and has spearheaded campaigns against child labor, illiteracy, and unfair trade practices.

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Nepal

Association For Craft Producers

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© SERRV

Over 25 years ago, the founders of the Association for Craft Producers (ACP) had a vision of a non-profit organization which could do business as well as work for the development of low-income women artisans in Nepal. Drawing from long experience of working with women and development, they realized that the promotion of handicraft production needed to be backed by an integrated support program, including assuring the supply of raw materials, design ideas, management skills and organized market outlets.  ACP has grown steadily over the years and today provides services to 1,200 artisans from 15 districts of Nepal (90% of them are women). ACP's support allows women to work from their homes, and also provides income to around 100 artisans who work in their center in Kathmandu. Women's earnings from the sales of their crafts are an important part of their home economy and have changed the lives of many women, who now receive greater support and respect from their husbands and fathers.  ACP is committed to its social welfare programs, which provide strong benefits to the artisans, such as a savings program, school scholarships focusing on girls' education, retirement fund, medical allowance, paid maternity and paternity leave, and other work incentives.

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Nepal Traditional Crafts Pvt. Ltd.

 © Ten Thousand Villages

© Ten Thousand Villages

The offices and workshops of Nepal Traditional Crafts are located in the ancient city of Lalitpur, the City of Fine Arts, in the Kathmandu Valley. Artisans using hand tools create traditional Nepalese crafts. Nepal Traditional Crafts provides jobs for a large network of low–income producer groups and economically underprivileged people in Nepal, and helps keep the traditional crafts of the region alive. Artisans receive fair prices, medical benefits, loans, paid leave, retirement benefits, children’s scholarships and skill development training.  With the growth of mass production, traditional Nepali crafts were starting to die out. As a result of export markets for their handicrafts, artisans have a life of greater dignity, and some have been able to develop their own self-sustaining businesses.

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Get Paper Industry

 © SERRV

© SERRV

Get Paper Industry is a 125-member cooperative in Kathmandu that specializes in hand-made paper and paper products. The group's paper is made from recycled materials like paper, old cotton rags, and natural fibers like corn husks and banana stems. Get Paper has a deep commitment to the artisans that make up the cooperative, 91% of whom are women. Cooperative members earn a living wage and are eligible for cooperative benefits which include free lunches, personal loans, health insurance, advance payments, training, and a small pension.  Get Paper Industry also has a strong commitment to social development in Nepal. About 40% of the profits generated by the cooperative are used to fund development programs run by Get Paper's sister organization General Welfare Prathisthan. These include programs like the 'Send Your Daughter to School" scholarship program which has allowed 125 girls to attend school, AIDS awareness campaigns, and environmental programs like tree planting. The group has won international awards for their AIDS awareness work and for their efforts to protect the environment.

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Kumbeshwar Technical School

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© SERRV

The founder of Kumbeshwar Technical School (KTS) was concerned about the poverty and class discrimination he saw in his neighborhood in the Kathmandu Valley, where members of lower castes were often discriminated against or given few opportunities. He had a different vision: opportunities for all. He made a commitment to share what he had with his neighbors, many of whom were low-income street sweepers, rickshaw drivers, or day laborers, and he built a school to assist socially and economically deprived children.  Over the past 25 years, the Kumbeshwar Technical School has steadily grown, and now has a day care, nursery and primary school, home for homeless children, and vocational training program. These programs focus on providing education and training to low income families to empower the local community to take responsibility for themselves and their future.  KTS' vocational training program provides opportunities to underprivileged youth, women, and disabled people with limited schooling to learn useful trades. The program has resulted in hundreds of graduates being able to find employment. Trainees are provided with free training courses in wool spinning and knitting, carpet weaving and carpentry. Graduates from the program are offered employment in KTS' production units where they can use their newly learned skills to earn a livelihood. Steady work throughout the year helps hundreds of artisans meet their day to day needs, reducing poverty in the area.  Sales of products are reinvested in KTS' social programs, providing a source of economic strength to keep the education and training programs self-sustainable. We feel good about supporting the valuable work of KTS through the sales of their rugs and knitwear and to be part of the circle that benefits the lives of people in Nepal.

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Lydia Trading

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© Ten Thousand Villages

Lydia Trading is the exporting arm of the Nepal Leprosy Trust (NLT), a nonprofit organization in Nepal. NLT works with people affected by leprosy or disadvantaged in other ways, through a range of income-generating, social welfare and medical projects. Currently, NLT runs three self-financing industries producing leather goods, batiks and cloth products. Lydia Traders exports the products and uses the profits to support people affected by leprosy and women in need. Due to consistent orders Lydia Traders has been able to introduce improved medical benefits, working conditions and educational sponsorship to families affected by leprosy and other marginalized people.The Nepal Leprosy Trust was established in 1972.

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Mahaguthi, Craft With A Conscience

 © SERRV

© SERRV

Mahaguthi, Craft with a Conscience, is a nonprofit organization that plays a vital role in supporting socially and economically disadvantaged artisans of Nepal. Mahaguthi began with the goal of making the poor self-reliant and has been a pioneer in the non-profit social service sector.  The organization was founded by a follower of Mahatma Gandhi, who started working with women, widows and low caste people in 1927. While studying with Gandhi, he learned to spin and weave cloth and returned to Nepal to organize a spinning and weaving project in the Kathmandu valley. He later founded a school and an ashram, or spiritual community, which became a home for destitute women where they could come with their children to find a safe haven. The Tulsi Mehar Mahila Ashram, the parent organization of Mahaguthi, is a women's center that continues to provide shelter, food, support and vocational training in tailoring and weaving to women, with the objective of making women self-reliant. Mahaguthi, Craft with a Conscience began as a retail outlet for the spun textiles in 1984, and has since expanded to include crafts from over 1000 artisans throughout Nepal.  Part of the income from sales of the crafts helps to run the ashram and its programs for women, but Mahaguthi's impact is broader. They also provide regular employment and support to producers throughout Nepal, working with 100 producer groups in 15 regions of Nepal. Their work encourages the revival of cultural, artistic and craft traditions, while upholding fair trade principles like payment of fair wages, benefits for producers, safe working conditions, protection of the environment and the promotion of long term sustainability.

© SERRV

 

Manushi

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© Ten Thousand Villages

The nonprofit organization Manushi, meaning "energetic woman," was established in 1991 to assist poor, disadvantaged Nepali women. Located in Kathmandu, Manushi works with women in various parts of the country. The organization's goals are to promote gender perspective in sustainable development, to enhance women's social and economic status, to put women in the forefront of human development, and to put marginalized people in the world of work through handicraft production and small businesses. In addition to craft production and marketing, Manushi conducts community development, entrepreneurship and skills training, and provides microfinance loans. Currently some 90 percent of Manushi's artisans are women. Constitutionally Nepali women have rights, explains director Padmasana Shakya, but practically they have few opportunities within a culture that discriminates against women.

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Nepal Knotcraft Centre

 © Ten Thousand Villages

© Ten Thousand Villages

Nepal Knotcraft Center trains, employs and empowers socially and economically underprivileged women in Nepal, giving them opportunities to earn an income and support their schooling. The organization started by training women in macramé knotcraft. Over the years, their product line evolved to include Dhaka weave textiles, cornhusk dolls, bamboo baskets and other natural fiber products, many drawing on local designs and traditions. With a product line made from mostly recycled and indigenous materials, Nepal Knotcraft Center’s products occupy a unique niche in the marketplace. The center runs a savings program for employees, and artisans receive bonuses when orders are sufficient. Literacy classes are offered to help empower the women.

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New SADLE

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© Ten Thousand Villages

New SADLE takes its name from "New Skill and Development Learning Experience." New SADLE is a not-for-profit training and employment program for artisans who have had leprosy or polio, who have other disabilities, or who are socially disadvantaged. The organization offers free medical treatment to artisans and provides handicraft skills that can lead to financially sustainable jobs, important in a society where people with leprosy are often shunned and forced to beg. New SADLE encourages artisans to return to their homes, and provides rent and child allowances to enable integration into society. Artisans receive free day-care and schooling up to grade 12 for their children. New SADLE runs a medical center, two mobile health clinics, a hospital and two homes for people who cannot work and who have no family.

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Sana Hastakala

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© Ten Thousand Villages

Sana Hastakala, which means "small handicraft" in Nepali, is a nongovernmental, nonprofit export organization based in Kathmandu. Sana Hastakala works to preserve the rich artistic skill and traditions of Nepali artisans, and provides additional training and marketing assistance to artisans. Eighty percent of the artisans are women; most artisans are uneducated. Sana Hastakala strives to increase its export sales so that additional disadvantaged artisans can improve their economic and social conditions. Profit from sales is used for producer development programs, staff welfare and organizational strengthening.  Sana Hastakala was established in 1989 as a retail shop to help market the handicrafts of producers, mainly women operating on a small scale, usually from their homes.

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Pakistan

Dominion Traders

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© Ten Thousand Villages

Dominion Traders works with underprivileged artisans who make stone and shesham wood crafts in the city of Karachi. It disperses orders to independently owned and operated onyx workshops that own their own equipment and rent or own their facilities. Most are family businesses employing several family members. Benefits to artisans include profit-sharing, pension plans and medical benefits. Dominion Traders provides interest-free loans and advances to artisans.  Dominion Traders was founded by the late Mansoor Ali, who pioneered fair trade practices in Pakistan’s stone industry while hiring artisans regardless of religion or ethnicity. The organization is now managed by his son, Syed Fahad Ali.

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Zardozi

 © SERRV

© SERRV

Zardozi started as an income generating project set up 26 years ago to assist women from the hundreds of thousands of families which poured across the border from Afghanistan into Pakistan when fighting started. Today thousands of poor Afghan women earn a steady income from embroidery and handicraft production thanks to Zardozi.  Income from producing and selling embroidery and handicraft empowers the women in many diverse ways. Many of the women use their income to support their children's education. Other women spend money on pregnancy check ups – often for the first time in their lives despite multiple pregnancies. All of the women describe having an income of their own as life changing in terms of achieving status as individuals in their families and communities and allowing them some control over their own lives.  Zardozi assists these women to start small businesses selling handicrafts and clothing to shopkeepers and traders. Zardozi also works with more than 20 very small businesses in the handicraft sector helping them to improve their business and production skills so that they can increase their profits and expand.

© SERRV

 

Sri Lanka

Gospel House Handicrafts

 © SERRV

© SERRV

Gospel House Handicrafts was started to provide training and employment to poor and semi-educated youth from marginalized areas of Colombo, the capital of Sri Lanka. Specializing in making wooden toys, utility items and ornamental handicrafts, Gospel House was able to buy land and build a workshop in Madampe, 40 miles outside of Colombo. The workshop now employs 45 woodworkers on a permanent basis and provides additional work to other artisans in the area. They also help to market the crafts of other artisan groups with whom they are associated.

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Lanka Jathika Sarvodaya

 © SERRV

© SERRV

The Sarvodaya movement in Sri Lanka was founded in 1958, based on the Gandhian principles of non-violence, truth, and self-denial. The goal of the organization was to promote harmony among the various ethnic groups in Sri Lanka by sponsoring community development projects and training youth in non-violent and conflict resolution skills. Today, Sarvodaya is the largest non-governmental organization in the country, involved in agriculture, micro-credit, education, health care, women's empowerment, ecology, income generation, and disaster relief in over 15,000 villages and neighborhoods around the country.  Lanka Jathika is Sarvodaya's handcraft export program which helps to alleviate poverty by promoting economic empowerment and sustainable livelihoods for rural people. Proceeds from sales of handcrafts help fund Sarvodaya's many other community development projects.

© SERRV