Its combination of spiritual depth, unmatched physical beauty, and cultural diversity makes India one of the most fascinating destinations in the world. A very diverse country, India is symbolized by the plurality of its culture, which reaches back about 5,000 years, making it one of the world's oldest cultures.
With 1.237 billion people in 2012, India is the world’s largest democracy and fourth largest economy. In spite of the impressive economic growth it has seen in the last decade, for more than 400 million of India’s people (one-third of the world’s poor), crushing poverty and malnutrition are still harsh realities, and 29.8 percent of the total population fall below the international poverty line of US $1.25 per day. Moreover, in 2012, India ranked in the 136th place out of 187 countries in the 2013 Human Development Index of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), which assesses long-term progress in three basic dimensions of human development: a long and healthy life, access to knowledge and a decent standard of living.
of India's total population fall below the international poverty line of US $1.25 per day
out of 135 countries ranking in the Global Gender Gap
From India: Meet the Artisans
Community Friendly Movement
Community Friendly Movement (CFM) provides commercial opportunities for marginalized artisans throughout India. By partnering with producers at the base of the supply chain, CFM is able to bring handcrafted products to a larger market and increase independence in local communities.
Based out of Jaipur, India, Craft Boat is a social enterprise working with talented artisans who repurpose cotton T-shirts into beautiful paper-based products while following innovative eco-friendly practices. These fair trade goods include gift tags, gift boxes, and stationery sets. The name “Craft Boat” itself stems from two factors — the artisans practice a traditional papermaking craft, and the paper boat making process is one of the first crafts many of them learn as kids.
Located in Kolkata, Destiny Reflection is a non-profit organization that works to end human trafficking and slavery. Their mission is to make sure that no girl who escapes from trafficking has to return to that world again. Their social entrepreneurship program strives to provide girls from such underprivileged and vulnerable backgrounds a steady means of employment.
EllieFunDay partners with an artisan group consisting of 40 women artisans working as part of a sewing unit. Many of these artisans are single mothers; some of them have experienced a form of domestic violence or abuse. The artisans are housed in a safe place and are given an economic opportunity to help their families rise above poverty. Artisans working with EllieFunDay have access to fair wages and dignified employment. As a result of a sustainable employment opportunity, artisans are able to provide healthcare, education, and save for the future.
India Kala, meaning ‘crafts of India’ in Hindi, is a social enterprise partnering with 850 artisans throughout India who are between the ages of 25 and 50. India Kala works closely with the talented artisans while presenting opportunities for growth. For instance, they showcase the artisans’ work through marketing materials, perform quality checks and educate them about product quality standards, and ensure the artisans are providing marketable products without compromising on the traditional techniques practiced for the craft. Some of the artisans at India Kala work from home, and some work in the workshops.
Kara Weaves is a social enterprise that is based out of Kerala, India and supports artisan weavers who are members of weaving cooperatives and who design contemporary home textiles. All of the hand-woven products, from coasters to napkins, are made from ancient and local fabrics, and these fair trade products are handmade at traditional wooden looms.Since February of 2013, Kara Weaves has been a member of the Fair Trade Forum of India, which is the country network of the World Fair Trade Organization and WFTO-Asia.
Matr Boomie, formally Handmade Expressions is a sourcing partner for socially and environmentally responsible products. They work with underprivileged and disadvantaged artisans in India and strive to improve their economic and social standing by creating self-sustainable employment following fair trade practices. They partner with grass-root level NGOs and artisan cooperatives and help them create high quality handmade goods. They empower the artisans with market and fashion information that allow them to create functional products. At the same time, they encourage them to use natural fibers and recycled material wherever possible.
Nappa Dori is an intimate fashion house in Delhi, India, where the emphasis on quality is matched by the commitment to social justice. The boutique's artisans create exquisite, handmade leather products. Nappa Dori provides its artisans with interest-free loans and also donates a portion of its profits to Harmony House, a community center for the women and children of the Delhi slums that provides free food, shelter, clothing, education, and medical care.
Sudarshan, based in India, focuses on product development and training artisans to produce quality textiles for trade. They promote traditional techniques and above all, they promote the artisans by providing a global platform for fine handcrafted products. Sudarshan is an advocate of fair wages and helps artisans build a greater livelihood. A percentage of profits go toward funding craft schools in India to educate and empower women in local craft industries. Together, they empower crafters to build a better life within their own communities. All products are sustainable and eco-friendly.
Sustainable Threads is a fair trade enterprise that works with more than 10 artisan groups located in India. The organization focuses on creating long-term relationships with its artisan partners and is community-oriented, in addition to caring about creating beautiful products. Sustainable Threads has a certification from Green America and prides itself on using environmentally friendly packaging. It is also a member of the Fair Trade Federation and is committed to promoting rural development, entrepreneurship, and social justice in the communities where its artisans live and work.
HUMAN RIGHTS SITUATION
India continues to have significant human rights problems despite making commitments to tackle some of the most prevalent abuses. The country has a thriving civil society, free media, and an independent judiciary. But longstanding abusive practices, corruption, and lack of accountability for perpetrators foster human rights violations. Many women, children,Dalits (so-called untouchables), tribal communities, religious minorities, people with disabilities, and sexual and gender minorities remain marginalized and continue to suffer discrimination because of government failure to train public officials in stopping discriminatory behavior.
In India, many inequities are still tied to gender, cast and class. Disadvantaged groups are not reaping the benefits of economic growth, and women have yet to be empowered to take their place in the socioeconomic fabric of the country, placing India in the 105 out of 135 countries ranking in the Global Gender Gap, which examines the gap between men and women in four fundamental categories: economic participation and opportunity; educational attainment; health and survival; and political empowerment. Furthermore, in India, the ratio of female to male of the working-age population (ages 15–64) that actively engages in the labor market, by either working or actively looking for work is only 0.359.