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We are a social enterprise in New Delhi which up-cycles waste fabric generated from apparel scraps to create handcrafted decorations by Afghan woman refugees in India. Our products are eco-friendly, support sustainable incomes that help in building communities of artisans.

Problem

Refugees often live in ‘hotspots’ where the effects of climate change and conflict coalesce. In these contexts, the impacts of a warming planet can both be the cause of displacement and make living conditions of those already displaced more difficult by exacerbating issues like water shortage and food scarcity.

Solution

With the motto “A Stitch Against Waste. A Stitch For Freedom.”, Silaiwali’s handmade doll collection addresses some of the world’s most pressing issues – waste from the textile industry and the livelihood of the displaced individuals. As a social enterprise based in New Delhi, India, Silaiwali takes production waste from the city’s garment factories as raw materials and employs Afghan refugee women to hand sew each character together with skilful needlework techniques including hand embroidery and fine finishing.

Iris Strill and Bishwadeep Moitra had worked with women refugees and rural Indian craftswomen before. They were taken aback by the amount of cotton fabrics being thrown away as waste from garment factories. The creation of Silaiwali is, therefore, to help ensure fair employment for women from different walks of life in India and find a new life for the waste materials that would otherwise be sent to landfill.

MAY003

$65.00
Kids

We are a social enterprise in New Delhi which up-cycles waste fabric generated from apparel scraps to create handcrafted decorations by Afghan woman refugees in India. Our products are eco-friendly, support sustainable incomes that help in building communities of artisans.

Problem

Refugees often live in ‘hotspots’ where the effects of climate change and conflict coalesce. In these contexts, the impacts of a warming planet can both be the cause of displacement and make living conditions of those already displaced more difficult by exacerbating issues like water shortage and food scarcity.

Solution

With the motto “A Stitch Against Waste. A Stitch For Freedom.”, Silaiwali’s handmade doll collection addresses some of the world’s most pressing issues – waste from the textile industry and the livelihood of the displaced individuals. As a social enterprise based in New Delhi, India, Silaiwali takes production waste from the city’s garment factories as raw materials and employs Afghan refugee women to hand sew each character together with skilful needlework techniques including hand embroidery and fine finishing.

Iris Strill and Bishwadeep Moitra had worked with women refugees and rural Indian craftswomen before. They were taken aback by the amount of cotton fabrics being thrown away as waste from garment factories. The creation of Silaiwali is, therefore, to help ensure fair employment for women from different walks of life in India and find a new life for the waste materials that would otherwise be sent to landfill.

Kom

$65.00
Kids

KARA Weaves Leverages Contemporary Design and International Markets to Preserve Culture, Art, and Livelihoods in Kerala, India.

Problem

Even as India’s hand woven fabrics are being celebrated on runways and in exclusive shops around the world, compensation among weavers typically remains unreasonably low when compared to other skilled laborers and generally inconsistent with the time and effort dedicated to each piece. For example, an experienced and diligent weaver spends an entire day to finish roughly seven traditional thorthu pieces (54” by 27”) which are then sold for about ₹40 (US$0.70) per piece in the local market, where the commonplace-ness of thorthu and a history of government subsidization have left the fabric unappreciated and poorly valued. The time quoted here does not include the labour-intensive pre-looming process, nor does the price quoted fully illustrate the pittance ultimately received by the weaver after materials costs are deducted. Worse still, the only remaining source of this revenue for the Kanjiramattom cooperative is a government-supported order—one which is characterized by largely mismanaged contracts with the weavers hardly ever being paid on time and often payment is made in the form of raw materials, rather than cash.

Solution

Indu Menon (social anthropologist) and Chitra Gopalakrishnan (graphic designer), founded KARA Weaves (“KARA”)—a fair-trade certified, socially-minded venture that seeks to connect the works of handloom artisans in Kanjiramattom to global markets in order to preserve thorthu weaving as an art-form and a piece of cultural heritage.  KARA’s strategy to reactivate the artisans and revive the ailing art is to bring design and market intervention to the local weaving cooperative.

We partner with local weaving co-operatives in Kerala (India) to design contemporary home textiles. Each product is made from very ancient local fabrics that are hand-made at traditional wooden looms. We are certified members of the Fair Trade Forum of India, the country network of the WFTO and WFTO-Asia.

Design intervention: KARA recognizes that the weavers are highly skilled and they already produce a high-quality, useful product.  What they lack is a critical knowledge of current, global design trends which are key to catching the interest of global consumers. KARA bridges this link between ancient and modern by working directly with the weavers to design a range of beautiful thorthu products, from cocktail napkins to beach towels, whose function is compatible with contemporary lifestyles.

Market Intervention: Beyond design, KARA recognizes the importance of leveraging branding and marketing techniques to effectively communicate the value of thorthu to international markets. By creating an online presence, leveraging social media, and attending trade fairs, KARA has generated greater awareness of thorthu fabrics and weavers among global markets and has begun to establish direct international sales channels to sustain demand.

That is, KARA, as a business model, is positioned at the intersection of social, environmental, and economic sustainability.

Social: KARA has evolved as a personal and purposeful business because its founders are passionate and committed to the social objectives important to their community. Indu, as a social anthropologist who had previously studied the personal, social, and economic contexts of hand weavers in southern India, recognized that the only way to enable these artisans to continue to practice and teach their art to future generations was to restore hand weaving as a financially sustainable and aspirational profession. KARA collaborates with weavers on design—focusing on connecting them with the end user and the value of their creations. Additionally, KARA works with the currently fragile cooperative in Kanjiramattom to make sure that it has the support and resources necessary to rebuild the unit amidst this new phase of opportunity. Along the journey to revitalization, KARA has provided its local cooperative with interest-free working capital loans, committed to paying premium wages for their thorthu products, and worked to feed incoming orders to the local unit in order to stabilize growth and propel development.

Environmental: In the textiles industry, where most players are in a ‘race to the bottom,’ manufacturers seek to cut costs as far as possible through increased usage of energy-intensive automated processes and cheap labour. KARA, however, supports the use of handlooms which consume only fairly remunerated manpower. Additionally, KARA products are lightweight and require very little water to wash, dyes utilized are eco-friendly, and waste generated during production is up-cycled or recycled.

Economic: In the true spirit of social entrepreneurship, KARA is a venture that was born out of a community challenge recognized and confronted by innovative people who cared enough to create a solution. It was initiated with personal funds and since the date of inception it has been sustained by product revenues. According to Indu and Chitra, “Never relying on donations, grants, or subsidies, and still surviving means that we are at least on the right path to establishing a real solution that can be sustained by its own momentum.”

Biscuit Table Napkin

$11.00
Textiles

Through the Basket Weavers Market Support Project we work with 49 basket weaving communities which improves the livelihood of artisans and communities in these areas.

The Problem

Basket weavers are usually forced to sell their products to middlemen for a pittance, who go on to sell their goods to shops for a profit for themselves.

The Solution

Our support service eliminates that middleman, buying directly from the artisans and providing them with a fair price for their work. Another part of this is that we also provide straw to the communities, in what we call, a Straw Bank. Straw can be expensive for the communities to buy from the market themselves. So what TradeAID does is buy the straw in bulk at opportune times when the price is lower and then it sells it to the communities for a cheaper price. 

By providing orders to the basket weavers from the international market, we are able to provide fair prices which will allow them to make a livelihood from their work, which they put so much time, skill and effort into. As a Fair Trade organization, this is crucial to our aims.

We also aim to improve the skills of the craft communities, providing training to help them diversify their products, as well as providing training which enables them to improve their business and marketing skills. For instance before TradeAID arrived it was the case that many of the communities would only be able to do one kind of basket. However, now, due to the product diversification training provided by TradeAID a single community may be able to make many more than just the one style of basket. Therefore, their business should now be more diverse in terms of products and so they should be able to find more success as well.

As well as Product Diversification training, we also provide Business skills training. This can include things like record keeping, marketing/advertising, customer service, etc. The aim, once again, is that through education we can help people to learn effective business skills and so this will then enrich and nourish their businesses.

Another area we’re currently looking into are alternative dyes for the craftspeople, looking for dye which would be cheaper and more readily available. The current dye used is not without harmful side effects, and as such, we attempt to educate the basket weavers on these dangers and make them aware of precautions that can be taken to diminish these, by providing protective gear such as masks.

Overall, the Basket Weavers and Market Support Service is a sprawling project with big aims and high aspirations. Thus, it can be seen as one of TradeAID’s most vital projects in terms of achieving the aims of “making trade work for the poor” which is our slogan and surely our most fundamental belief.

Oval Bolga Basket

$75.00
Baskets Homewares

Through the Basket Weavers Market Support Project we work with 49 basket weaving communities which improves the livelihood of artisans and communities in these areas.

The Problem

Basket weavers are usually forced to sell their products to middlemen for a pittance, who go on to sell their goods to shops for a profit for themselves.

The Solution

Our support service eliminates that middleman, buying directly from the artisans and providing them with a fair price for their work. Another part of this is that we also provide straw to the communities, in what we call, a Straw Bank. Straw can be expensive for the communities to buy from the market themselves. So what TradeAID does is buy the straw in bulk at opportune times when the price is lower and then it sells it to the communities for a cheaper price. 

By providing orders to the basket weavers from the international market, we are able to provide fair prices which will allow them to make a livelihood from their work, which they put so much time, skill and effort into. As a Fair Trade organization, this is crucial to our aims.

We also aim to improve the skills of the craft communities, providing training to help them diversify their products, as well as providing training which enables them to improve their business and marketing skills. For instance before TradeAID arrived it was the case that many of the communities would only be able to do one kind of basket. However, now, due to the product diversification training provided by TradeAID a single community may be able to make many more than just the one style of basket. Therefore, their business should now be more diverse in terms of products and so they should be able to find more success as well.

As well as Product Diversification training, we also provide Business skills training. This can include things like record keeping, marketing/advertising, customer service, etc. The aim, once again, is that through education we can help people to learn effective business skills and so this will then enrich and nourish their businesses.

Another area we’re currently looking into are alternative dyes for the craftspeople, looking for dye which would be cheaper and more readily available. The current dye used is not without harmful side effects, and as such, we attempt to educate the basket weavers on these dangers and make them aware of precautions that can be taken to diminish these, by providing protective gear such as masks.

Overall, the Basket Weavers and Market Support Service is a sprawling project with big aims and high aspirations. Thus, it can be seen as one of TradeAID’s most vital projects in terms of achieving the aims of “making trade work for the poor” which is our slogan and surely our most fundamental belief.

Oval Bolga Basket

$75.00
Baskets Homewares

Through the Basket Weavers Market Support Project we work with 49 basket weaving communities which improves the livelihood of artisans and communities in these areas.

The Problem

Basket weavers are usually forced to sell their products to middlemen for a pittance, who go on to sell their goods to shops for a profit for themselves.

The Solution

Our support service eliminates that middleman, buying directly from the artisans and providing them with a fair price for their work. Another part of this is that we also provide straw to the communities, in what we call, a Straw Bank. Straw can be expensive for the communities to buy from the market themselves. So what TradeAID does is buy the straw in bulk at opportune times when the price is lower and then it sells it to the communities for a cheaper price. 

By providing orders to the basket weavers from the international market, we are able to provide fair prices which will allow them to make a livelihood from their work, which they put so much time, skill and effort into. As a Fair Trade organization, this is crucial to our aims.

We also aim to improve the skills of the craft communities, providing training to help them diversify their products, as well as providing training which enables them to improve their business and marketing skills. For instance before TradeAID arrived it was the case that many of the communities would only be able to do one kind of basket. However, now, due to the product diversification training provided by TradeAID a single community may be able to make many more than just the one style of basket. Therefore, their business should now be more diverse in terms of products and so they should be able to find more success as well.

As well as Product Diversification training, we also provide Business skills training. This can include things like record keeping, marketing/advertising, customer service, etc. The aim, once again, is that through education we can help people to learn effective business skills and so this will then enrich and nourish their businesses.

Another area we’re currently looking into are alternative dyes for the craftspeople, looking for dye which would be cheaper and more readily available. The current dye used is not without harmful side effects, and as such, we attempt to educate the basket weavers on these dangers and make them aware of precautions that can be taken to diminish these, by providing protective gear such as masks.

Overall, the Basket Weavers and Market Support Service is a sprawling project with big aims and high aspirations. Thus, it can be seen as one of TradeAID’s most vital projects in terms of achieving the aims of “making trade work for the poor” which is our slogan and surely our most fundamental belief.

Oval Bolga Basket

$75.00
Baskets Homewares

Through the Basket Weavers Market Support Project we work with 49 basket weaving communities which improves the livelihood of artisans and communities in these areas.

The Problem

Basket weavers are usually forced to sell their products to middlemen for a pittance, who go on to sell their goods to shops for a profit for themselves.

The Solution

Our support service eliminates that middleman, buying directly from the artisans and providing them with a fair price for their work. Another part of this is that we also provide straw to the communities, in what we call, a Straw Bank. Straw can be expensive for the communities to buy from the market themselves. So what TradeAID does is buy the straw in bulk at opportune times when the price is lower and then it sells it to the communities for a cheaper price. 

By providing orders to the basket weavers from the international market, we are able to provide fair prices which will allow them to make a livelihood from their work, which they put so much time, skill and effort into. As a Fair Trade organization, this is crucial to our aims.

We also aim to improve the skills of the craft communities, providing training to help them diversify their products, as well as providing training which enables them to improve their business and marketing skills. For instance before TradeAID arrived it was the case that many of the communities would only be able to do one kind of basket. However, now, due to the product diversification training provided by TradeAID a single community may be able to make many more than just the one style of basket. Therefore, their business should now be more diverse in terms of products and so they should be able to find more success as well.

As well as Product Diversification training, we also provide Business skills training. This can include things like record keeping, marketing/advertising, customer service, etc. The aim, once again, is that through education we can help people to learn effective business skills and so this will then enrich and nourish their businesses.

Another area we’re currently looking into are alternative dyes for the craftspeople, looking for dye which would be cheaper and more readily available. The current dye used is not without harmful side effects, and as such, we attempt to educate the basket weavers on these dangers and make them aware of precautions that can be taken to diminish these, by providing protective gear such as masks.

Overall, the Basket Weavers and Market Support Service is a sprawling project with big aims and high aspirations. Thus, it can be seen as one of TradeAID’s most vital projects in terms of achieving the aims of “making trade work for the poor” which is our slogan and surely our most fundamental belief.

V Shaped Shopping Basket

$60.00
Baskets Homewares

Through the Basket Weavers Market Support Project, we work with 49 basket weaving communities which improve the livelihood of artisans and communities in these areas.

Problem

Basket weavers are usually forced to sell their products to middlemen for a pittance, who go on to sell their goods to shops for a profit for themselves.

Solution

Our support service eliminates that middleman, buying directly from the artisans and providing them with a fair price for their work. Another part of this is that we also provide straw to the communities, in what we call, a Straw Bank. Straw can be expensive for the communities to buy from the market themselves. So what TradeAID does is buy the straw in bulk at opportune times when the price is lower and then it sells it to the communities for a cheaper price. 

By providing orders to the basket weavers from the international market, we are able to provide fair prices which will allow them to make a livelihood from their work, which they put so much time, skill and effort into. As a Fair Trade organization, this is crucial to our aims.

We also aim to improve the skills of the craft communities, providing training to help them diversify their products, as well as providing training which enables them to improve their business and marketing skills. For instance before TradeAID arrived it was the case that many of the communities would only be able to do one kind of basket. However, now, due to the product diversification training provided by TradeAID a single community may be able to make many more than just the one style of basket. Therefore, their business should now be more diverse in terms of products and so they should be able to find more success as well.

As well as Product Diversification training, we also provide Business skills training. This can include things like record keeping, marketing/advertising, customer service, etc. The aim, once again, is that through education we can help people to learn effective business skills and so this will then enrich and nourish their businesses.

Another area we’re currently looking into are alternative dyes for the craftspeople, looking for dye which would be cheaper and more readily available. The current dye used is not without harmful side effects, and as such, we attempt to educate the basket weavers on these dangers and make them aware of precautions that can be taken to diminish these, by providing protective gear such as masks.

Overall, the Basket Weavers and Market Support Service is a sprawling project with big aims and high aspirations. Thus, it can be seen as one of TradeAID’s most vital projects in terms of achieving the aims of “making trade work for the poor” which is our slogan and surely our most fundamental belief.

Bolga Pet Bed

$240.00
Baskets Homewares Kids Pets

Through the Basket Weavers Market Support Project, we work with 49 basket weaving communities which improve the livelihood of artisans and communities in these areas.

Problem

Basket weavers are usually forced to sell their products to middlemen for a pittance, who go on to sell their goods to shops for a profit for themselves.

Solution

Our support service eliminates that middleman, buying directly from the artisans and providing them with a fair price for their work. Another part of this is that we also provide straw to the communities, in what we call, a Straw Bank. Straw can be expensive for the communities to buy from the market themselves. So what TradeAID does is buy the straw in bulk at opportune times when the price is lower and then it sells it to the communities for a cheaper price. 

By providing orders to the basket weavers from the international market, we are able to provide fair prices which will allow them to make a livelihood from their work, which they put so much time, skill and effort into. As a Fair Trade organization, this is crucial to our aims.

We also aim to improve the skills of the craft communities, providing training to help them diversify their products, as well as providing training which enables them to improve their business and marketing skills. For instance before TradeAID arrived it was the case that many of the communities would only be able to do one kind of basket. However, now, due to the product diversification training provided by TradeAID a single community may be able to make many more than just the one style of basket. Therefore, their business should now be more diverse in terms of products and so they should be able to find more success as well.

As well as Product Diversification training, we also provide Business skills training. This can include things like record keeping, marketing/advertising, customer service, etc. The aim, once again, is that through education we can help people to learn effective business skills and so this will then enrich and nourish their businesses.

Another area we’re currently looking into are alternative dyes for the craftspeople, looking for dye which would be cheaper and more readily available. The current dye used is not without harmful side effects, and as such, we attempt to educate the basket weavers on these dangers and make them aware of precautions that can be taken to diminish these, by providing protective gear such as masks.

Overall, the Basket Weavers and Market Support Service is a sprawling project with big aims and high aspirations. Thus, it can be seen as one of TradeAID’s most vital projects in terms of achieving the aims of “making trade work for the poor” which is our slogan and surely our most fundamental belief.

Moses Basket

$220.00
Baskets Kids

Through the Basket Weavers Market Support Project, we work with 49 basket weaving communities which improve the livelihood of artisans and communities in these areas.

Problem

Basket weavers are usually forced to sell their products to middlemen for a pittance, who go on to sell their goods to shops for a profit for themselves.

Solution

Our support service eliminates that middleman, buying directly from the artisans and providing them with a fair price for their work. Another part of this is that we also provide straw to the communities, in what we call, a Straw Bank. Straw can be expensive for the communities to buy from the market themselves. So what TradeAID does is buy the straw in bulk at opportune times when the price is lower and then it sells it to the communities for a cheaper price. 

By providing orders to the basket weavers from the international market, we are able to provide fair prices which will allow them to make a livelihood from their work, which they put so much time, skill and effort into. As a Fair Trade organization, this is crucial to our aims.

We also aim to improve the skills of the craft communities, providing training to help them diversify their products, as well as providing training which enables them to improve their business and marketing skills. For instance before TradeAID arrived it was the case that many of the communities would only be able to do one kind of basket. However, now, due to the product diversification training provided by TradeAID a single community may be able to make many more than just the one style of basket. Therefore, their business should now be more diverse in terms of products and so they should be able to find more success as well.

As well as Product Diversification training, we also provide Business skills training. This can include things like record keeping, marketing/advertising, customer service, etc. The aim, once again, is that through education we can help people to learn effective business skills and so this will then enrich and nourish their businesses.

Another area we’re currently looking into are alternative dyes for the craftspeople, looking for dye which would be cheaper and more readily available. The current dye used is not without harmful side effects, and as such, we attempt to educate the basket weavers on these dangers and make them aware of precautions that can be taken to diminish these, by providing protective gear such as masks.

Overall, the Basket Weavers and Market Support Service is a sprawling project with big aims and high aspirations. Thus, it can be seen as one of TradeAID’s most vital projects in terms of achieving the aims of “making trade work for the poor” which is our slogan and surely our most fundamental belief.

Moses Basket

$220.00
Baskets Kids

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