Fair Trade Organisation: ASHA Handicrafts
Asha Handicrafts have been practising Fair Trade since 1975, even before the concepts of Fair Trade became popular abroad. Asha means “hope” in Sanskrit.
Thousands of artisans and producer groups depend on Asha Handicrafts for assistance throughout India. From carpet weavers and paper mache makers in Kashmir, the northern most part of India, to Kalamkari artisans of Andhra Pradesh in south India, to leather workers of Calcutta in the East, to tribal women of Gujarat in the West doing their ethnic embroidery on cotton, where they hand product clothes, including fair trade school uniforms! Also there many other wood workers, brass workers, weavers, silver smiths etc. located all over different parts of India.
Click here to see the ASHA handicrafts products we sell.
Asha Handicrafts, an Alternative Trading Organisation, are helping to spread the concepts and benefits of Fair Trading in India and abroad. As a not-for-profit making body, Asha Handicrafts endeavours to ensure that the benefits of handicraft production reach the craftspeople themselves.
Smaller scale handicraft producers are disadvantaged because they lack financial awareness and knowledge of promotional and management skills because of this the single organisation has two distinct divisions. The first one is engaged in trading with small scale handicraft producers by purchasing directly from the artisan groups and offering advance payments on orders, Asha tries to increase the income levels of producer groups and artisans and prevent them from accumulating long-term debts.
The second division that Asha offers is a resource centre that oversees welfare programs, training activities as well as crafts promotion and producer development to assist producers the opportunity to establish themselves so they can engage in other types of business and become a successful enterprise in order to support themselves and their family.
Asha’s contributions have presented artisans with an opportunity to improve their standards, helping them feed their families and continue with their livelihoods, the tradition of crafts.