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   Meet Our Artisans
   Artisan Snapshot
   Supporting Artisans

Gul-shabab

  I work   with   Hammad Fashion. I  prepare the Master Samples, of which the final production units are compared to as part of the quality checks. I have been working with Hammad Fashion since July 2007, with a break of 5 years due to some personal & health problems. Now at the age of 45 I am fine and in 2016,once again begun work with Hammad.

I come from an extremely poor family. Both my parents are uneducated and could not afford to send me to school. I spent most of my childhood & teen years supporting my family in their farming activities.

When I turned 23, I got married to Mohammed Saleem, who was a factory worker. A few years down the line, when we decided to start a family, we faced the harsh truth that only my husbans's income would not be enough to survive & educate our children.  I knew what I had to do. and so had to find work somehow.

So, I began my long & difficult search. A difficult search it was indeed. Being uneducated, unskilled & a woman, finding work seemed to be a daunting task for me. Fortunately for me, one of my husband’s friends heard how Khallil bhai of Hammad Fashion offered an equal opportunity for everyone to earn. Soon I met Khallil, who offered me a job and began mentoring me. I learnt how to make jewellery in a span of 12 months & the rest is history.

i am grateful for my good salary, the family-like atmosphere & good working conditions that Hammad Fashion provides. I attribute this to Khalil Bhai’s practice of fair-trade, that he learnt from Asha Handicrafts, & sharing this knowledge with his employees. I am proud that my work supports my husband & helps to educate my  children Rubia Naaz, Mohd Anees & Shiba Naaz. Anees is currently pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in Arts while Rubia  & Shiba are in 12th & 11th standard respectively.

Meera Chhipa

   Hello everyone I am the mother of Rakesh the founder of Rakesh Hand Printers and the driving force the company. I am 57 years old & enjoys my work. Was born in Bagru, a small village located at Jaipur, Rajasthan to a family of printers. My  parents taught me  the art of hand printing & this made me extremely fond of the traditional designs. I practiced printing most of my childhood life, creating a variety of designs, in an assortment of colors. My father was not keen on spending his hard earn money on my education as he believed that a complete education was only meant for boys. As such, I has studied only up to the 2nd class.

 At 20 years of age my marriage was arranged with Kanhaiya Lal Chhipa, another local hand printer. Today I has five children, 3 sons and 2 daughters. I take pride that they are all educated & successful and that four of them are married, as especially proud of my son Rakesh, who has carried on the family tradition. I taught the techniques to my her children, but Rakesh was the one who saw its true value & potential. I am very happily share stories of how I taught Rakesh the various techniques I knew when he was younger.  I now oversees the production unit & occasionally  do some printing myself. My  dreams are that our work will continue to grow and my children find success in the family business.

Munni

      Was born in to a poor family in Roorkee, a city in the Haridwar district of Uttarakhand. Needless to say, my childhood was not easy. My  father was a daily wage worker and couldn’t afford sufficient food for his family, let alone afford to send me to school.

I finally got married, moved to my husband’s home at Saharanpur and had 4 children. I thought that the difficult days were behind me, but sadly, in a span of a few years, the poverty & hardship which was  left behind, had once again found me &  my  family.  My  husband  also  made a living  as a daily wage worker & couldn’t find work like before. Our future looked dire, but I decided not to give up & do her best to support her family.

I was fortunate to get a job with one of the local handicraft manufacturers & learn't how to polish wood, was thankful for the new income, but still couldn’t support my family. When I heard of AR Art’n Export & the benefits they gave their artisans, I said to myself I have to at least try to get a job with them. Recognising the quality of my work,  the owner Arif immediately offered me a job, which I graciously accepted.

I have been working with Arif for the last 10 years as a wood polisher, specialising in antique / vintage finishing especially on the Vintage Trivet. I can now easily take care of her family needs and couldn’t be happier!

 

Nayna Kambli 

At 35 years of age an artisan working with Cotz Bio for the last 4 years. My main responsibility is stitching fabric products. Studied up to the 9th standard and then dropped out as my family could no longer afford to pay the school fees. A few months after I dropped out, I came across a course which taught stitching and quickly enrolled with whatever little money I was able to save, this was something to learn that could help me survive. After finishing the course I joined a company called VIP, as an apprentice. After her apprenticeship, I moved on to join Cotz Bio, as a fulltime seamstress. I live in a small village called Chana in Vapi city, Gujarat with my family.

As a single mother I am doing my best to support my family consisting of a son, daughter & my own parents. My husband who is no more had left me some years ago for another woman. This left me in a position where I did not know how my  children and myself would survive. Fortunately for me, my parents invited me & their grandchildren back home.

My son has finished high school and is now working in a store, while my daughter is studying in 10th standard. Enjoy working with Cotz Bio and appreciate how they value their employees by providing safe working conditions, regular wages and additional benefits. I now earn more than US$ 155 every month, which is more than the current wage rate in the area. I want to continue working with Cotz Bio to ensure her children have a bright future. I have already begun making plans for my children’s weddings in the future. I believe, "Bigger and regular orders of our products will help us achieve our dreams"

Wood Work -- Crafts & Craftsmen Paper Mache -- Mugloo & Sons
Leather -- Harmada Leather Ceramic -- Pink City Kala Udyog
Jewelery -- Ramprasad Patwa Bidri Work -- Madhukar Gawai
Stone -- R.C. Marble Horn & Bone -- Mohd Ayaz
Home Furnishing -- Bundar Kalamkari House
Jams / Pickles / Chutney -- Womens India Trust
Wood Work - Seema Art – Saharanpur – Uttar Pradesh
Satish Ahmed - Crafts & Craftsmen :
“Without Asha’s assistance, I would not have been able to start my own business” - Satish Anand.
My father served in Indian Air Force after his retirement he fell in hard times so I Satish Anand, could not continue my education and had to find job to support my family. After relocating in Saharanpur I began working as a packer in a handicraft company. Here I met Bashir Ahmed who was one of the Asha's suppliers. In 1978 Bashir offered to employ and train me in brass inlay. I worked with Bashir and was given the responsibility of supervising all production under him.

I am married to Kanchan and have two daughters and a son.  All my children received educational assistance from Asha that enabled me to pay their school fees, cost of uniforms, books and examination fees.

My eldest daughter Pallavi completed her high schooling and was married in Feb 09 and she is now living in Shimla. Phalguni is studying commerce at the university and taking extra classes to be a chartered accountant. My youngest son is in completing his high school.

I also has moved on from being an artisan. I now take small orders on my own which provides a regular income to me and four other artisans who earn up to US$100 a month.

My second daughter is a gifted artist doing free hand drawings. She is now planning to help me with designs for new products. Asha handicrafts provided me with a desk top computer to enable me to manage my business better. I use it for correspondence, storing images for reference as well as keeping record of my costs. Now that my children are educated, I am able to concentrate on what I do best- works with my hands.

Asha Handicrafts has also extended a revolving credit to me under their Assistance for Raw Material Supply (ARMS) project. This enables me to purchase and process raw materials ahead of getting orders and it cuts down the lead time required to deliver the consignment. I also receive regular business counselling from Asha Resource Centre to help solve operational problems that I faces from time to time.

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Paper Mache -- Mugloo & Sons - Srinagar - Jammu & Kashmir
Mugloo & Sons :

Raja Abdullah :

My father Md. Abdullah Mugloo was orphaned at an early age. His uncle who taught him the craft of Papier-Mache brought him up.  Soon after learning the craft Md. Abdullah decided to specialise in hand painting Papier Mache products.

In 1970 Mugloo and Sons was launched in a small room in his uncle’s house. Initially Abdullah  had ten craftsmen working with him. In 1976 Mugloo & sons began its long association with Asha Handicrafts when his Son Barkat Ali came to Mumbai.

I was the younger son who joined the family business after I completed my high school in 1981. I however continued my studies at the university at the same timeI continued to be trained by my father the craft of Papier Mache and in later years the ropes of business. Finally I completed my Masters in Commerce in 1987 and took over the reins of family business.

We all know that good times do not last too long and in the late eighties troubles began in the Kashmir valley due to political unrest the tourists stopped coming. First to stop were the tour groups later even the adventurous individuals decided to take their holiday elsewhere.

There was no market for our wares locally so Kashmiris began to relocate in other tourist centres in India. My brothers also moved to Delhi and Mumbai with their families. While I remained behind to oversee the production of Papier Mache items.

During these difficult times movement of raw materials and finished products from the Valley became unreliable. It became impossible to meet the deadlines for export commitments. As a result many exporters began to exclude Kashmiri crafts from their catalogues.

As incomes fell off hardships for the artisans in Kashmir valley multiplied. However Asha Handicrafts continued to stand by me and my artisans, promoting our products with the existing clients as well as exploring new markets for Papier Mache handicrafts. As the terrorism lost their local support situation has improved. These artisans now need our support to rebuild their economy from the shambles it lies in presently.

PRODUCTS:- Paper mache  pen stands, photo frames,  coaster sets, letter racks, eggs, pencil holders, pen stands, boxes of various sizes, lamp stands, Christmas tree hangings etc. They also make woollen Namdhas that are wool-embroidered floor covering typical of Kashmir and hand-knotted silk carpets, also a renowned craft of Kashmir.

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Paper Products -- Sharon Handicrafts - Jaipur - Rajasthan
Paper & Textile Products- Sharon handicrafts - Jaipur -Rajasthan :

Suraj Dass -

Born in Hoogali dist of West Bengal.  I studied up to high school but could not continue due to family situation. As a young man I studied Martial arts and achieved quite a proficiency in Karate.  I then came to Mumbai to live with my step father and work with him.  Initially I found employment with Asha Handicrafts in quality assurance department. Here I learned the importance of quality and practical impact of Fair Trade.

When my family moved to Jaipur I also relocated and continued to work in the family business. In 2004 I married Puja and began my own business.  I faced a lot of hardships in the initial stages of setting up my business.

I had to sell my wife’s jewellery to raise initial capital for my business. Later I had to borrow money from my well wishers when I needed increased working capital. Asha Handicrafts has been my support right from the beginning. Since I am known to Asha Handicrafts it was first place I turned to when I needed customers.

Currently I specialises in hand made paper products made with gem stone powder pictures and printed home furnishing. Asha Handicrafts is giving me practical advice to help me manage my business more effectively.

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Semi Precious Jewelry -- Ramprasad Patwa - Mumbai - Maharastra
Ramprasad Patwa :
Born in the village of Nevada Isahakpur in Sultanpur Dist. of Uttar Pradesh. After finishing  high school, I came to Mumbai and began to sell costume jewelry, personally making earrings and bracelets of cast iron.

In 1989 I began to work with Asha Handicrafts Association. Today I support seven artisans who work wholly for me while I concentrate full time on marketing my products.

I and my two artisans were given inputs concerning basic design principles and colour combinations for the U.K markets. This has built up my confidence in my own creativity. I now plan to create more original designs than depending on catalogues for my “inspirations”.

During the time that I worked with Asha Handicrafts Association, I have been able to rebuild my family house as well as build a new home for my family in the village. I also give assistance to my artisans in time of family crisis such as illness as well as an advances in times of weddings and other happy occasions.

Through my association with Asha Handicrafts I was given the opportunity to work with designers based abroad who developed a new range of products which helped to increase orders for my artisans.

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Home Furnishing -- Bundar Kalamkari House - Kalamkari Pedana - Andhra Pradesh
Situated in Pedana, a small rural village in Southern India, Nagendra Rao is a textile producer practising Kalamkari, the craft of hand block printing on cotton cloth. Passed down from his father, Nagendra runs this traditional block-printing unit with his younger brother, Shrinivas.

Bunder Kalamkari House provides employment to 17 men and 7 women, of whom many are widows or separated.  Widows in rural India are often shunned upon by society, as it is considered a bad omen to have outlived their husband.  Divorcees tend to be regarded with equal contempt.

Nagendra is a warm and generous man.  He appreciates all his staff and considers them as a part of his family, but most importantly, he gives them financial independence and respect in their community by providing worthy employment. In the year 2004—05  Asha Handicrafts has placed orders worth US$ 50,684.00.
Bunder Kalamkari House Staff Profile Laxmi
 

One of Nagendra’s block-printers, separated from my husband,  I joined the Rao’s company at the time when Nagendra’s father was in charge.  When I found myself out of work., Nagendra’s father took me on, not only providing me with a secure job but also supporting me during the difficult time as my marriage broke down.

My husband is remarried and offers no support to me or my two children.  I have found stability and independence with my employment, and today  I live in a rented house with my son.  My daughter has married and lives close by.

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Stone Inlay / Undercut R.C. Marble -- Agra - Uttar Pradesh
Sharma Brothers - R . C . Marble :

Sharma Brothers - R . C . Marble :

Not far from the Taj Mahal in Agra, Uttar Pradesh, three brothers, Ramesh, Chotelal, and Deepchand Sharma, have set up their business, hand-carving exquisite and intricate designs from stone.

Specialising in Gorara stone and Soapstone, the brothers work alongside their 25 artisans to create a variety of products.  Bowls, boxes, animals, candleholders and soap dishes are amongst some of the most popular items produced. Each item is hand- carved with such precision, often including undercut work with unbelievable detail, or delicately inlaid with mother of pearl.

These master creations are made in small workshops. There are various production problems faced by the artisans, such as power cuts, which are a regular occurrence in the region.  Production is also a very dusty process, so Asha Handicrafts Association has provided vacuum cleaners and cloth masks to improve their working environment.

Asha Handicrafts has assisted Ramesh Chand to build his own unit in order to install a dust extraction system that would provide a clean and safe work environment to them and their artisans

The Sharma brothers are very progressive in their thinking. After coming into contact with Asha Handicrafts Association, they have embraced the Fair Trade Movement wholeheartedly.  With design input from our designers, both in-house and contracted, we hope that their income would go up. The Sharma brothers also received assistance to meet the medical expenses for their family members from Asha Handicrafts.

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Horn & Bone - Mohd Ayaz - Sarai Tarin - Uttar Pradesh
Gulam Abbas and myself are a father-and-son team living in a small village called Sarai Tarin.  My father has 11 children; I, the eldest son, have chosen to follow my father in the business, and my sister is also being trained to take over the books of accounts.

My father established his company, which is named after himself and his son, in 1975. In 1992, he was introduced to Asha Handicrafts Association by his uncle who was also an artisan supported by Asha.

As during the process of working with bone and horn, fine dust is generated, Asha Handicrafts Association has provided his artisans with face masks and they are encouraged to wear these masks in order to prevent the dust from causing damage to their lungs.  They have also been provided with a vacuum cleaner to remove the dust fallen on the ground more efficiently.

The reason I appreciate working with Asha Handicrafts Association is because, through them, I get design inputs from their designers, advance against orders and prompt payments on delivery of goods. I am also given adequate time to produce the order so not to rush production by hiring many new artisans. I can give more work to my regular artisans with help of Asha Handicrafts Association.

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Scarfs & Stoles - Mumbai - Maharastra _ Satish Kumar

I consider myself  is a self-made man. I dropped out of college after completing my first year of the degree course . I had worked hard to make a difference in the lives of my children—my son Krishna 25 and Praveen 23

But it was not always so. I was employed in a garment company and served them loyally for 24 years. During this time I was transferred to Chennai, formally Madras, in the Tamilnadu where, I helped them set up over two dozen garment workshops.

Posted to Chennai for four years, the difficulties in relocating and the problems that my family had to face got me thinking. I asked for a transfer back to Mumbai but was denied, Subsequently then decided to go my own way and set up Kamal Hari Apparel in 2000.

Ravi is my friend and colleague at my garment employer. I found him unemployed after his return from Chennai and offered him a job.  I now source products directly from artisan workshops as per product requirements. These workshops are in Chennai, Surat,  Barabanki, Jaipur and Mumbai. The artisans who work here are  hard working. They appreciate the much needed work. Those who produce quality products are rewarded with more work.

I want my business to grow, but grow with reputation and goodwill. My sons have completed their graduation in commerce and are studying to be Certified Accountants. Would want them to have the freedom to decide their own future giving them a choice to work professionally or to join the family business.

I began to work with Asha since 2007.  After producing many samples I began to receive regular orders. In 2011 my turnover was 25 lakhs of this 30% was contributed by Asha. I find Asha Handicrafts to be a loyal parter. Through Asha Handicrafts, I heard of Fair Trade, and understands the value of transparency in dealings, non exploitation of artisans and absence of child labour. These are the values that I himself live by. Children, I categorically state are not employed by us.

The recent increase in raw material prices amounting to almost 30%, and slow down abroad has resulted in his business being affected. To keep the work going I  had to resort to cutting back on my own profit margins. I am grateful to the designs I get from Asha. Most of my recent orders are based on these designs.

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