Meet The Artisans
Thai Tribal Crafts
View products by this artisan - Thai Tribal Crafts (TTC), established in 1973 is Fair Trading Organization. TTC provides development opportunities for the tribal peoples of Northern Thailand and preserves traditional craftsmanship. Seven Hill tribes of Northern Thailand are involved in the project: the Akha, Hmong, Karen, Lahu, Lawa, Lisu and Mien groups, as well as many women working in Chiang Mai. The producers include master craftsmen and women. Mien men for example are skilled in working with silver, whereas some Lahu specialise in items from bamboo. The Lahu and Karen people, and particularly women, are skilled in back-strap loom weaving. Producers of embroidery, appliqué, patchwork: The Lisu, Hmong, Mien, Lahu and Akha tribes form the majority of the producers, with about 50 villages supported through the project. In the city of Chiang Mai TTC has trained 30 women who are able to work around family life from home to assemble the raw materials and products for finishing.
Pebble’s commitment to beautiful natural products and fair trade goes above and beyond. From her spare room in Bangladesh Samantha Morshed started the Pebble child legacy in 2004. With beautiful bespoke design Pebble now provides sustainable regular work for the women of rural Bangladesh at scale. Samantha’s commitment to empowering these women has awarded her an MBE (Member of the Order of the British Empire) and commendation by President Bill Clinton at the Clinton Global Initiative in New York. Pebbles innovative and recognisable designs for children’s gifts, clothes and baby wear are heralded as an example of how to create good quality employment for the young, illiterate, unskilled women of rural Bangladesh. With flexible employment, inspiration and up-skilling Pebble products give the women of Bangladesh a chance to give their own children a better life.
Fair Trade Egypt
WFTO member Fair Trade Egypt Crafts (FTE) empowers local communities by offering disadvantaged artisans in Egypt an opportunity to market and develop their craft. Established in 1998 FTE has benefited from the Direction of Managing Director, Mona El-Sayed. Mona spent one year touring Egypt and gathering data about every single artisan group. This enabled her to develop a sustainable business model which could preserve the traditional crafts in a continually modernising market place.
Ishak Fahim Rubel, one of the founding members of the Brass Group, explains how the organisation developed and how they participate in a Fair Trade partnership. ‘I am a master jeweller and tanner at Embaba’s Brass Group. I learned leather tanning and brass embossing from one of Cairo’s better-known masters, Sami Amin. After spending five years in his workshop, I felt I could launch my own operation with my own designs.’
Established 26 years ago Zardozi is a registered Afghan non-governmental organization. It aims to assist illiterate women from among the thousands of families that poured across the border to escape warfare. The women currently reside in rural areas of eastern Afghanistan and in refugee camps in Pakistan.
The money which the women earn at Zardozi empowers them to support their children’s education and personal heath. They describe having an income of their own as life changing. Zardozi also assists approximately 1,000 women in poor urban areas with advice on setting up small handicrafts businesses.
After six years of witnessing the struggles of artisans first hand, Samuel Masih established Noah’s Ark International Exports in 1986 to change the foundation of the exporter-artisan relationship from fear to trust in an effort to raise the artisans out of poverty and preserve their livelihood. Noah’s Ark is the first and only Fair Trade certified exporter (member of WFTO and FTF India) in Moradabad. The company has supported artisans and their families with fair wages 10-15% higher than local wages, long-term business investment and collaboration, and health and education initiatives for over 25 years. An NGO, Noah’s Ark Handicrafts & Artisan Welfare Society, was created in 2000 to advance the charitable activities of the organization, which now include clean water, education, health and capacity building initiatives. ‘Through our work, we give an identity to the artisan’s craft and help them to appreciate the value of their products while ensuring they have the skills and resources to succeed in a changing market. Like the biblical story of Noah’s Ark that symbolizes the concept of saving mankind, we strive to save the art of making handicrafts.’
Marcela Salinas Cofre is a mother of four children and the founder of the family business Calypso Chile, located in the neighbourhood of La Reina in Santiago, Chile. Since 1994, Marcela and her creative team have produced and exported fused glass and enamelled copper products. Fair Trade is practiced as a way of life and Marcela and her team work together in a supportive manner with the commitment to social and trade justice. Calypso Chile is proud to use recycled and recyclable products that do not harm the environment and this unique selling point also promotes the newly implemented guarantee system and transparent supply chain.
Austrian Peter Kronig and his team of artisans Cape Town South Africa are Platies. Peter a professional surf instructor was challenged by his friends during a holiday to South Africa to produce artistic and practical bags from recycled and discarded items. He accepted the challenge and began production on various designs using car registration plates, seat belts and garden irrigation systems. Peter works with a small team of artisans who are paid fairly and work in good conditions in his Cape Town workshop.
Lofty Bamboo is World Fair Trade Organization Asia Certified Member. Commited to preserving nature and traditions Lofty Bamboo supports artisans in Thailands villages to become self-reliant.