Artisan Organization: India Social
"India Social was founded in 2000 to create opportunities for Indian craftspeople," spokesman Mukesh says. 'We assist social organizations and disadvantaged artisans with marketing and skill building, and strive to create opportunities for the crafts sector.
"We find that artisans are at a disadvantage in a global market and many times must sell their work at distressed prices. Yet more Indians work in handicrafts than in any other sector except agriculture. There are more than 1,000 artisan clusters in India. Our organization is a pioneer in artisan cluster development. To help empower these talented people, we offer training workshops in design and skill enhancement to help revive the old crafts. We also work on market access for artisans.
"Initially, artisans were skeptical and our team spent weeks living with them in their own villages while raising consciousness and building trust. Once they themselves realized how much they were gaining and noticed the improved circumstances, our relationship with the artisans became stronger."
Mehfooz Ahmed affirms this with his story.
"I spent two months training with India Social, which provided contacts with potential buyers. I learned a great deal about technology. Though I am a very small artisan, I was eventually able to buy a computer so I am more and more in touch with buyers over the Internet.
"Being involved in work that provides a livelihood and future to the 'real' creators of traditionally crafted designs makes the whole process immensely fulfilling and worthwhile. This inspires me to continue my craftwork as rigorously and effectively as possible.""