Kumbeshwar Technical School
Established in 1983 by Mr Siddhi Bahadur Khadgi, Kumbeshwar Technical School (KTS) is an educational and vocational training centre supporting the needs of low-income families throughout Nepal.
KTS was initially established to assist the local Pode community of street sweepers because, as a caste of untouchables, these people had been denied education and employment opportunities. The rest of society shunned them and it was virtually impossible to break free of the traditional caste occupations of street sweepers, butchers and small farmers. Kabindra Khadgi, the youngest son of the Founder Chairman, implemented the first KTS programmes in 1983. A childcare project for street cleaning workers was established, followed by adult literacy classes and a nutrition and health clinic, which included an immunisation programme.
In 1984, KTS opened a primary school and introduced a carpet weaving training programme for adults. The KTS organisation today encompasses a free nursery and primary school for 200 children and offers welfare and education for up to 20 orphan/semi-orphan children in the KTS orphanage. KTS provides vocational training for women and young men in carpet weaving, hand knitting and carpentry. KTS is proud to be WFTO certified since 2013.
Women's Skills Development Organisation
Women’s Skills Development Organization (WSDO) is a non-profit Fair Trade organization that has been working since 1975 to empower women who face difficult and significant social and economic hardships—being differently abled, abused, widowed, divorced, single, orphaned or of marginalized castes.
As a Fair Trade organization, WSDO ensures fair wages and production processes that minimize environmental impacts by using local and raw materials along with eco-friendly dyes. We make a wide range of handwoven and handmade products, including handbags, cases, purses, toys, footwear and household accessories.
Sana Hastakala is a non-profit organisation established in 1989 with the financial and technical support of UNICEF to meet the marketing requirements of handicraft producers who are mainly women and operating on a very small scale, usually from their homes.
Sana Hastakala strives to revive and preserve traditional handicraft techniques as well as develop new skills and ideas. They provide assistance with project development, training and sales. Financial assistance is provided to producers for the purchase of equipment, raw materials, product development and health programs. Sana Hastakala provide services to more than 80 producer groups and around 1000 individual crafts-people.
Sana Hastakala are a founding member of the Fair Trade Group Nepal and are a member of WFTO - The World Fair Trade Organisation.
Local Women's Handicrafts (LOCWOM)
A fair trade textile and handicraft collective in Kathmandu whose aim is to promote quality education, employment and health care for all people by empowering women, educating children, and building learning centres in underserved communities.
The LOCWOM Vision: We envision a world where women are leaders in their communities and are in control of their own lives, their own rights, and their own decisions.
Many women working at LOCWOM have escaped sweat shops, domestic violence and other untenable situations.
Established in 1978, Sasha, a Kolkata based non-profit marketing organization brings together more than 150 groups of artisans and producers from all over the country. Sasha has worked hard to revive several traditional Indian crafts ensuring dignity and self reliance for craftspeople, particularly the eastern states of India. They have also created an Enterprise Development Foundation to initiate, nurture and sustain small enterprises.
In addition to their work with craftspeople Sasha are undertaking community development projects in the areas of health, education, agriculture and natural resources in several areas.
Sasha founded the Fair Trade Forum of India and are a member of the WFTO - The World Fair Trade Organisation.
Equitable Marketing Association
Equitable Marketing Association was formed in 1977 and is a registered society owned by its members, who are craftspersons, farmers, crafts families and staff members.
EMA aims to enable assurance of income and security. Support is given to members by way of product design, quality advice, training and production, management, procurement of raw materials, packaging and marketing.
The EMA development centre at Baruipur outside Kolkata has incorporated in its own design solar power for cooking, heating and hot water and biodynamic farming techniques. These techniques are demonstrated then to local farmers to encourage environmentally friendly and sustainable agriculture and small cottage industry.
EMA are a member of WFTO - The World Fair Trade Organisation.
In 1979 a small group of deaf artists in Kolkata grouped together to establish Silence. Originally given some support by well wishers and funding agencies Silence is immensely proud that for the past 10 years the organization has been self sufficient.
Silence not only create craft products, they also train disabled people in Information Technology and data entry. They employ around 100 people, 75% of whom are handicapped. Employees receive a salary, superannuation, life and health insurance and a canteen at the workshop in South Kolkata provides a meal each day. This employment and self-sufficiency is tremendously important to the disabled person and their families, many of whom would suffer tremendous hardship and difficulties without it.
Silence has won several national and international awards for their work.
Artisans Effort is a small grass roots group of artists and craft workers who joined together in Kolkata in October 2003 to incorporate fair trade principles. They had found that supplying their products to other local exporters kept them in a cycle of irregular work, difficulty in receiving payments and poor treatment overall. They learnt about Fair Trade and knew that it could bring many benefits to them as a group, including good relationships between themselves and their overseas buyers.
Although small, Artisans Effort is now supplying several international Fair Trade outlets in Europe and USA. They support school children for their education expenses and continue to train disadvantaged people who demonstrate a talent for the crafts they produce. There are more than 150 families attached to Artisans Effort and they feel that their lives have been improved by working together in this manner. Ultimately they wish to provide long term security for their artisans and have goals to expand their premises in Kolkata and one day build a school for poor and needy children.
Founded by husband and wife team Isaq from Kashmir and Maria from Ireland, Zaida work in Kashmir with independent village producer groups to utilise traditional craft skills and values with modern contemporary design. Chainstitch work is carried out by the village men between the cycles of planting and harvest. The craft earns money for clothing, school books and shoes, medical expenses, weddings and funerals. Most of Zaida's craftspeople live and work in a village near Anantnag, an area affected by the border dispute between India and Pakistan.
Maria and Isaq are documenting and researching the lives of their craftspeople and are investigating opportunities to help their families further in the future. They currently pay their artisans above the rate set by the Chainstitch Workers Association with orders paid for in advance. Zaida have fair trade principles at the core of everything they do.
Craft Link is a not-for-profit organization that assists small Vietnamese craft producers to develop their business and find market opportunities.
Preference is given to producer groups who are marginalised or disadvantaged such as ethnic minority people in remote areas, street children, disadvantaged women and people with disabilities.
Craft Link works with the Vietnam Museum of Ethnology to promote understanding and appreciation of Vietnam’s artisans and their skills. They ensure that their producers receive fair wages and any profits are put back into the operation of Craft Link, product design and development, and training.
Craft Link are a member of WFTO - The World Fair Trade Organisation.
Rajana make a number of craft products supporting individuals with disabilities, widowers and other artisans in rural communities to provide income for their families.
By having workshops in several cities as well as several small villages, Rajana want to bring fair trade to all reaches of Cambodia.
There are many talented artisans throughout the country and Rajana strives to work alongside them to help share their skills with the rest of the world.
Rajana head office is based in Phnom Penh.
A.N.D, a small fair trade partnership founded in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, in 2011 by an English designer with two local colleagues, was set up to support two main producer groups - village hand-weavers and disabled artisans.
A.N.D's mission is to inject design input into traditional techniques, in order to progress them, and to prepare these artisanal techniques for an international market.
A.N.D's signature fabric is hand-woven pure cotton ikat; previous to the partnership's founding, ikat in Cambodia was only woven on silk. Now, many home-based hand-weavers - mostly from farming families - are earning a supplementary income from ikat weaving on cotton.
Similarly, Cambodia has a long tradition of skillful wood-carving, often inspired by the ancient bas-reliefs of Angkor Wat. In order to progress this technique, A.N.D. has developed a range of unique wooden home décor and fashion items, whereby reclaimed local rainforest hardwoods are inlaid with vintage porcelain. These are produced by a team of polio-disabled carvers, who are now able to earn an independent living with a measure of dignity, while practicing an updated cultural tradition.
It is A.N.D's aim to progress and preserve these heritage-rich Cambodian techniques so that they are able to secure their livelihoods and to continue to progress these traditions in terms of design, so that these emblems of Cambodian culture can find their deserved place on the global stage.
Hands of Hope
Since Hands of Hope opened in 2005, it has enabled an increasing number of villagers living with HIV/AIDS to have dignified employment.
Transported to and from their village homes, as well as receiving an income through the work of their hands producing exquisite cards and paper decorations and gifts, they enjoy companionship and support five days a week.
During the school holidays, the children of the producers join the project ensuring a safe environment for them and while the adults work on regular orders, the children product their own line of cards!
Note: images are sourced from Global Conduct producer websites, images shared by traders and producers, and personal images from Global Conduct used with permission.