Artisians

Earthlink continues to support the artisans of the world:

In BANGLADESH much of our range is sourced from the The Craft Centre in Dhaka run by the YWCA.

The YWCA craft centre supports, trains and creates job opportunities for more than 400 women who would otherwise be destitute. The centre is situated in Dhaka and there is provision for 100 women to work there, The other women work in their own homes in the poorest parts of the city or nearby villages. The YWCA develop overseas  markets for the Handcrafts they produce  and provide many additional services for the women such as: A compulsory 10% saving scheme, Health and nutritional advice and subsidised medicines, Legal advice, Interest free loans, Annual recreation programme, Literacy training for illiterate women, Welfare fund and generally supports the women in a holistic manner.

 

The women are thankful for this opportunity as the alternative for many is breaking bricks by hand for a few Taka a day. This provides road fill for roads washed away annually by the monsoon. By working at the YWCA they are able to provide for themselves and educate their children with dignity.

 

 

PERU

 Peru sits on the west coast of South America surrounded by the Andean mountains with a population of approx. 27m people.

Handcrafted instruments have always been an important part of their culture, handed down over the generations, in fact, the earliest Pan flute was found in a tomb in Paracas that was 6000 years old.

Wide plateaus high in the mountains, form natural amphitheatres, where native Peruvians tell the stories of their ancestors and express their feelings through their music, using the wind and percussion instruments such as Antaras ,Panpipes, Flutes, Ocarinas,  and Drums. You will find them used in all ceremonial occasions including  rituals, weddings and burials.The instruments are made from bamboo, cana brava [ditch weed] clay, wood, carved gourds and animal skins. They are decorated according to the culture and tradition of the particular area they are made.. In areas such as Puno whole communities spend their days making musical items with skills taught and shared by extended families. Although the artisans have not studied music they tune them by ‘ear’.

 

 Many of our instruments and Finger puppets are sourced from CIAP a Fair Trade organisation that was established in 1992 as the Inter-regional Centre of Peruvian Artisans.

 

It represents a great number of artisans from various marginal and depressed areas throughout Peru. It provides continuous support to its members and has the following objectives.

 

1.     Defend and preserve the cultural identity of the Andes and Amazon regions.

 

2.     Promote the organisation of artisans and strengthen the existing ones.

 

3.     Bring about improvement in the living conditions of the artisans, their families and communities.

 

4.     Support complete development of the communities where the associations are located.

 

CIAP offers training programmes to its 700 members , implements quality control and seeks markets for the handcrafted products. Technical advice helps the artisans reach a standard required by the International market whilst maintaining the Andean characteristics which make the products so popular and original.

 

CIAP's head office is located in the capital of Lima and base associations are located in Ayacucho, Huancaya, Cusco, Puno Pucallpa and Arequipa who in turn support the artisans of their region.

 

 CAMBODIA

The Tabitha Foundation, a non profit organisation was started and still run by Jan Riske, a Canadian woman who felt the need to help lift the people of Cambodia out of poverty after the atrocities that the whole population underwent during the 1970's.

 

TABITHA supports over 200,000 Cambodians and in the 14 years of it's existence has helped more than a quarter of a million people to rise out of poverty.

 

The foundation trains people in various skills, offers micro credit loans to enable them to purchase animals or fishing nets etc to start their own business and also operates a house building programme. The woman who work in the sewing workshops are paid over $US200 a month which is 5 times the local wage. This normally means that within 2 years they are able to purchase their own home. They are also able to educate their children and support themselves in a dignified manner. Our Teepee and Old Lady who swallowed a fly doll are among the products made here.

 

INDIA

In India there  are a number of Fair Trade organisations that come under the umbrella of The Indian Fair Trade forum. They ensure that all artisans are treated fairly with good wages, safe working conditions, and that no child labour is used. Artisans Effort  based in Kolkata is where our Torans and decorative Wall Hangings are sourced. They use mainly traditional skills with some adapted to produce items suitable for the western market and most skills are handed down through the generations.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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