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Producers

This page contains short descriptions of some of the producers and importers responsible for the products we supply. Some of the descriptions contain links to other websites where you can read more about the organization in question.

Asha Handicrafts (India)

Founded in 1975 and based in Mumbai, Asha Handicrafts is a not-for-profit organisation working to promote Fair Trade and Fair Trade practices. As a member of the World Fair Trade Organisation (WFTO) Asha Handicrafts ensures that the benefits of handicraft production reach the craftspeople themselves. Asha has two divisions: one is engaged in Trading and other is the Resource Center, which oversees welfare programs, training activities, crafts promotion and producer development. By purchasing directly from the artisan groups and offering advance payments on orders, Asha increases the income levels of producer groups and prevents the accumulation of long-term debt. Thousands of artisans and producer groups throughout India benefit from Asha Handicrafts' support, from carpet weavers and paper mache makers in Kashmir, to women of Gujarat in the West doing traditional embroidery on cotton, and wood workers, brass workers, weavers, silver smiths, and so on, from different parts of India. Asha means 'hope' in Sanskrit.

Art Safi Self Help Group (Kenya)

Soapstone producers working in co-operation with a UK-based company Zuri Designs, the majority of work is done in Kisii, the area where the soapstone originates from in Western Kenya. In Nairobi, where more members of the group are based, woman have now been employed full time to work on sanding products before they are painted. The group has been saving to buy a plot of land in Kisii on which to construct a workshop, with the eventual aim of moving all production and packing to Kisii.

Cafédirect (UK)

Cafédirect was founded in 1991 by Traidcraft, Equal Exchange Trading, Oxfam and Twin Trading as a response to the 1989 global collapse in coffee prices. It was the first mainstream coffee brand in the UK to carry the Fairtrade mark, guaranteeing a fair and stable price to coffee growers in developing countries. Cafédirect improves the lives of more than 1.8 million people in 12 developing countries, with the mission to change lives and build communities through inspirational and sustainable business.

Crisil (Bolivia)

Crisil s.r.l. is a glass-making factory situated in Cochabamba, central Bolivia, from which Traidcraft sources its glassware. It is a family-owned social enterprise founded in 1991 by two brothers, Carlos and Walter Bustos, after one of them spent some years in the USA but wanted to return to his home country. Exporting since 2001, Crisil's products are made from recycled glass, and they train their workforce to a high level of skill without regard to social class or gender.

CORR - The Jute Works (Bangladesh)

Adding value to local crops and raw materials is an important way to increase rural livelihoods. In Bangladesh this includes making products from jute – the major cash crop – and from clay. The latter is a Hindu tradition, so provides an income for some of the minority population. CORR - The Jute Works is a registered charitable trust. It was established in 1973 to rehabilitate the war-widowed and war-affected poor, rural women of Bangladesh. The aim was to provide the women with work at home, producing handicraft items made from locally available jute. Over the years, The Jute Works range of crafts has widened and now includes terracotta products, which they also supply to Traidcraft.

Divine Chocolate (UK / Ghana)

Divine is no ordinary chocolate company. Set up to compete with the big companies in the mainstream market (which is has done very successfully), Divine is 44% owned by the Ghanean cocoa farmers' co-operative Kuapa Kokoo, giving farmers for the first time a real stake in what happens to their produce at the more lucrative end of the 'value chain'. Divine was originally set up with investment from an important, but less widely known, Fair Trade NGO 'Twin Trading' and the popular cosmetics company Body Shop, who subsequently donated their shares to Kuapa Kokoo. The governance of Divine remains a striking model for progressive social enterprise operating in the mainstream market.

Doy Bags (The Philippines)

Doy Bags are made by a women's cooperative in the Philippines. The large number of bags and household items produced every year prevents vast quantities of juice packs from being burnt, buried or simply littering the streets and waterways. The cooperative has won a number of awards in the Philippines for its concern for the environment and its outstanding contribution to both waste recycling and employment generation. Almost all the 500 women emplloyees are from disadvantaged backgrounds and are their family's main or only breadwinners, most of the husbands being unable to find work due to the poor state of the local economy. The women have an average of 4-6 children, thus working for the cooperative makes a real difference, elevating families from extreme poverty to a decent life. Functioning as a sort of extended family enterprise, the cooperative also employs a number of young men (adult sons of some of the women members) as drivers, packers and warehousemen.

Felt So Good (Nepal / UK)

Founded in 2009, Felt So Good is a small UK-based design house working directly with skilled craft workers in Nepal. The owner and designer Adele travels to Asia at least 3 times a year to oversee the operation and ensure that the Fair Trade values are upheld and strengthened. She says that the artistry of the producers and the development of good working conditions, with fair wages and job satisfaction, are at the heart of Felt So Good's ethos. The materials used are natural and biodegradable. Felt So Good is a member of the British Association of Fair Trade Shops and Suppliers (BAFTS).

Gospel House (Sri Lanka)

Gospel House in Madampe, Southern Sri Lanka, is that country's leading Fair Trade manufacturer of crafted wooden toys. They manufacture a wide range of puzzles, wheel toys, construction toys and games, using child safe paints conforming to EU and US safety standards. The toys are made from Albesiya wood which is a sustainable wood grown in the tea plantations of Sri Lanka. Gospel House seeks to provide employment opportunities for disadvantaged young people, often with no educational qualifications. Skills training for continuing development enables many to move on to other jobs. Gospel House supports many small craft groups and through its work, many women have been trained and empowered. Gospel House is a member of the World Fair Trade Organization (WFTO).

GPI - Get Paper Industry (Nepal) Website: www.gpicoop.org

Get Paper Industry is a Kathmandu-based co-operative and a member of World Fair Trade Organization (WFTO). It produces a wide range of quality paper products such as paper bags, boxes, gift items, and greeting cards, as well as felt items. Paper is made from cotton and paper waste. GPI pays good wages and and provides employment opportunities for marginalized women. GPI gives a portion of its profits to its sister company GWP which has recently funded the building of local schools, promotes better health, and campaigns against human trafficking, a major problem in Nepal with as many as an estimated 15,000 women sold and trafficked out of Nepal every year.

Koseli (Nepal / South Africa / Kenya / UK)

Koseli came into being in 2012 when owner Yvonne bought the Nepalese wool felt range from Devon-based Fair Trade company Natural Nomads, when its owners decided to retire. After many years working with impoverished women in South Africa, Yvonne is a passionate advocate of Fair Trade as a way of leveraging people's talents and skills to create micro businesses which will provide them with a long-term, sustainable income. The Chinese proverb displayed on its website perfectly encapsulates the Koseli approach: 'Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime'. Koseli is a member of the British Association of Fair Trade Shops and Suppliers (BAFTS).

Mitra Bali (Indonesia)

The Mitra Bali Foundation was established in 1993. It acts as a market and export facilitator for small craft producers who, with little working capital, would otherwise find it hard to access or even accept large orders. Mitra Bali works with around 100 producer groups employing over 1000 men and women, while the head office employs around 30 people. Mitra Bali is a member of the World Fair Trade Organization (WFTO)

Noah's Ark (India)

Noah's Ark is based in Moradabad, Northern India (only about 100 km from the border with Nepal). Set up in 1986, it strives to give a better deal to local artisans who rely on exports for their livelihood. Noah's Ark is a member of the World Fair Trade Organization (WFTO). Employing around 35 full time staff directly, Noah's Ark works with around 50 producer groups, employing some 500 artisans, a third of whom are women (2012 figures). As well as paying above average wages, profits are used to support the work of a welfare organization which has undertaken initiatives in the provision of clean water, health care, education and business training. Noah's Ark does not tolerate the use of child labour. Many products are made using recycled and upcycled materials, such as tyres and bicycle chains.

Prokritee (Bangladesh) Website: www.prokritee.com/

Prokritee (meaning 'nature' in Bangla) is an umbrella organization providing managerial, design & development and marketing support to organizations in Bangladesh. It manages eight handicraft enterprises and helps other groups to sell their products in local and foreign markets upholding Fair Trade principles. Products include paperware, basketware and jewellery made from Coconut, Hemp, Jute, Palm Leaf and other natural fibres. Their main emphasis is on providing jobs for poor rural women including widows, divorcees or heads of household with little or no income. The Prokritee head office is in the capital city, Dhaka, but the constituent entrprises are distributed thrughout the country, and employ some 700 people.

Swajan (Bangladesh)

Swajan is a private business, started in the late 1990s, to provide work for women’s groups. It aims to provide high-quality Bangladeshi handicrafts, which can compete in the global marketplace, and to improve the quality of life of its producers in poor urban areas and remote villages. At Swajan, the centuries-old craft of papermaking is combined with another of Bangladesh’s famous traditions, embroidery, to create beautifully decorated, handmade paper cards. The paper comes from Prokritee, another fair trade organisation giving work to disadvantaged women. As of 2016, about 850 women do embroidery in both rural and urban areas.

SHAPII - Salay Handmade Paper Industries (The Philippines) Website: salayhandmade.com/shapii-foundation.html

SHAPII is a family-owned business that started in 1987 with the objective of providing a sustainable livelihood for people in the local area. SHAPII is an environmentally aware company whose employees share profits and other benefits.

TARA Projects (India) Website: www.taraprojects.com

TARA Projects (Trade Alternative Reform Action) was founded in 1973 to help poorly organised and struggling artisans in Delhi, find markets for their goods. By creating opportunities for home-based craftsmen to market and sell their goods, TARA projects helps to generate steady work and income. They now support a network of producers throughout to a 120-mile area surrounding Delhi. They have a stone workshop in Agra, home of the Taj Mahal. TARA Projects funds schools for children as well as literacy centres for adults, and is constantly campaigning and educating people about Fair Trade.

Traidcraft (UK)

Not a producer as such, Traidcraft - catchword: 'Fighting Poverty Through Trade' - is one of the leading Fair Trade organisations in the UK, and one of the pioneers of a 'Trade is better than Aid' approach to international cooperation and poverty alleviation. The organization is split into two parts. Traidcraft PLC, the trading company, imports excellent fairly traded products from more than 30 developing countries and also sells UK-made products such as Christmas cards and eco-friendly household products. The other part is the development charity Traidcraft Exchange, which runs projects across the globe to combat poverty through community infrastructure improvements, capacity building and education and training. It also campaigns for change and against global trade injustice. When you give a donation to Traidcraft, it is this part of the organization that the money goes to - and surplus profits generated by Traidcraft PLC are also used to help the work of Traidcraft Exchange.