Artisans Effort was founded in Kolkata, West Bengal, India in October, 2003.
The founding members were a group of artisans, all specialists in their own fields e.g. embroidery, leather, jewellery, paper products and other items.
They came together as they had heard about fair trade. They heard that with fair trade you are treated with respect, that a fair price is paid and that a good relationship is built between the producer and seller.
All these artisans had been previously treated badly. They had problems being paid, there was irregularity of work and above all were rudely treated.
Slowly this group started to know more about fair trade procedures and attended the Fair Trade Forum in India.
Today there are more than 150 families involved with Artisans Effort. 60% are women and 40% are men. Since Artisans Effort is an artisans based organization, the artisans needs and difficulties are very closely understood.
At present, Artisans Effort looks after the education responsibility of nine poor and needy children from Asansol (West Bengal). Their books, uniforms and school fees are paid for.
Artisans Effort proposes that in the future they will open a school for poor and needy children.
Case Story of One of the Artisans
Miriam’s husband died many years ago leaving her with a daughter and son to raise. After her husband died, Miriams in laws started torturing her physically and mentally. Miriam was forced to leave her home. To earn money, Miriam used to work in several houses part time washing clothes and doing house work. One day Miriam heard about Artisans Effort and contacted them. They realized that Miriam was very talented with hand embroidery. After a three month training programme in 2004, Miriam began working with Artisans Effort. Artisans Effort is also paying for and ensuring that Miriams children receive a good education. www.artisanseffort.ind.in
Photos and text courtesy of Siham Craftlink Pty Ltd.