At The Little Market, we ethically source products from artisan groups and social enterprises that support artisans and producers who identify as indigenous. They have access to dignified work opportunities, which allows them to preserve the artisanal techniques of their cultures.
INDIGENOUS PEOPLE MAKE UP LESS THAN 5 PERCENT OF THE WORLD'S POPULATION, BUT THEY ACCOUNT FOR 15 PERCENT OF THE POOREST.*
Artesania Sorata provides work for indignenous families with low income in Bolivia. The artisan women dye the wool by hand using natural dyes made from local ingredients, such as walnut leaves, thola, and cochineal. The natural dyes are sustainable and soft on the wool. With this yarn, the artisans knit each piece by hand. Each artisan has a unique style and often adds embroidered patterns inspired by traditional weavings, geometric symbols, animals, or birds.
farming + Cooking
Social enterprise Black Mamba connects with small-scale farmers and makers within Eswatini to create chili-based foods and fruit spreads using fresh ingredients. The producers often live within rural areas that are typically below the country’s poverty line; they work from their homesteads and supply produce to Black Mamba. By working with Black Mamba, they reach a greater marketplace and have access to essential resources including regenerative, eco-conscious practices, finance training, health programs, and community development workshops. The producers also have free training opportunities from Black Mamba’s partner NGO Guba, helping them grow the necessary skills to practice permaculture techniques and regenerative farming.
bolga basket weavers
Artisans in the Bolgatanga region of Ghana, West Africa weave beautiful and durable baskets from thick, tough, and sustainable elephant grass. Purchases of these baskets have supported underserved indigenous weavers in the Bolgatanga region of Ghana, West Africa. A classic icon of African craftsmanship, Bolga baskets from Ghana are known for their durability, unique patterns, and vibrant colors.
Canaan Palestine is a social enterprise that collaborates with over 2,000 small-scale farming families. The farmworkers range in age from 25 to 70 years old and include indigenous populations. They are committed to providing sustainable income opportunities, implementing eco-conscious principles, practicing restorative agriculture, and offering essential resources such as community development workshops, finance training, and health programs.
EllieFunDay partners with an artisan group consisting of 40 women 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 have access to job training, fair wages, dignified employment, healthcare, and educational resources.
HANDCRAFTING WITH ALPACA PLUSH
Inspired Peru is an artisan cooperative consisting of 35 artisans; the majority are widows and heads of household from indigenous communities in the Peruvian highlands. Ethically sourced, local alpaca wool is used to craft products, such as stuffed animals and accessories, that celebrate the artisans’ ancestral and cultural heritage. At Inspired Peru, artisans are empowered to transmit their traditional skills to future generations while expanding their business and leadership skills.
IRAQ AL-AMIR WOMEN'S COOPERATIVE
HAND-GLAZING + SLIP-CASTING
Based in Jordan, Iraq Al-Amir Women’s Cooperative has empowered a community of skilled craftswomen since 1993. The artisans are mostly single women from rural indigenous communities, and many of them have worked with the cooperative since its beginnings. The income earned through Iraq Al-Amir Women’s Cooperative is essential to supporting their livelihoods, especially considering the current decrease in farmland that has left many community members in poverty.
Located in the agricultural community of Njoro in Kenya, Kenana Knitters works with 580 artisans, the majority of whom are women. The artisans have had few income earning opportunities because of limited access to a formal education and their family responsibilities. By working with Kenana Knitters, they can earn a sustainable income, create long-term economic plans, and take care of their families with a flexible work schedule. Health clinics are run free of charge at Kenana Knitters. The workshop also offers community development workshops, household finance training, literacy programs, and health and hygiene programs.
POM POM + TASSEL MAKING
Macvilho was founded by a group of Tzotzil Maya artisan women from the Mexican state of Chiapas. Through the creation of decorative accents and textiles, they have preserved traditional Maya techniques. Modern machinery is not used at any stage of the production cycle. Selling their goods to a global audience creates more employment opportunities for the artisans at Macvilho, allowing them to lead better lives supplemented by the additional income.
The Artisan Women’s House, a part of Manuela Ramos, began in 1993 with the goal of improving indigenous Peruvian artisans’ quality of life and to promote the consumption and value of these artisans’ work. All of the products are hand-knit by women in Puno, an Andean region in the south of Peru known for the quality of its textiles.
Located in Panajachel, Sololá, Guatemala, Maya Traditions has been dedicated to connecting indigenous Maya backstrap weavers and their families to national and international markets since 1996. Maya Traditions ensures that the culture of these artisans is preserved and seen across all of their products. Young girls begin to learn weaving techniques from their elders at a young age, and many women are able to support themselves and their families with their skills. These intricate products tell a rich cultural story while supporting the talented women who weave them. Maya Traditions provide various social programs in youth education, community health, and artisan development.
Naguska was founded in 1997 as an export company of Peruvian handicrafts, which is a craft that has been characterized by its richness, variety, and unique beauty since pre-Columbian times. Naguska seeks to create job opportunities for indigenous artisans and knitters from rural areas in the highlands of Puno. Naguska provides training and technical support so the artisans can learn their craft and increase the quality of their products and, therefore, of their lives.
Sewing + weaving
Precious Hands works closely with indigenous artisans in Guatemala to help design, produce, market, and sell their handmade goods. The micro-loan program also provides long-lasting and sustainable assistance to individuals in the communities where the artisans live and work. Many of the products are made from repurposed clothing, including a woman’s traditional blouse known as a “huipil.” Huipils are woven on a backstrap loom. Both techniques have been passed down for generations. These intricately woven products tell a rich cultural story while supporting the talented Maya women who weave them.
Based in Bangladesh, the community-based nonprofit organization Prokritee provides dignified work to more than 2,000 women in rural communities who are rising above poverty. The artisans include single mothers, refugees, survivors of domestic violence, indigenous peoples, and people living with disabilities. Through dignified work, they have access to fair wages, participate in essential training and personal development programs, and connect with a larger marketplace, bettering themselves and their communities.
Sustainable Threads is a fair trade enterprise that works with more than 10 artisan groups located in India including several tribal spinners groups. Based in one of the most economically underprivileged states in India, these groups provide employment to families in rural India and support farmworkers, yarn spinners, weavers, and sewers. Otherwise, the rural communities would have to engage in distress migration in search of employment. Sustainable Threads is a member of the Fair Trade Federation and is committed to promoting rural development, entrepreneurship, and social justice in the communities where the artisans live and work.
Vikapu Bomba is based out of Tanzania and works with artisan women in rural communities. The social enterprise strives to help artisans in the southern highlands of Tanzania to revive their artisanal traditions. The baskets are hand-woven in Tanzania, East Africa. Woven from milulu grass, a reed-like swamp grass, iringa baskets are an indispensable utility item of Tanzania’s Hehe people. The Iringa region has a long history of basket weaving, making them a part of the rich history of the Hehe people.
WOLOF WEAVERS OF SENEGAL
The women of Wolof Weavers of Senegal are proud to preserve the coil style of basket weaving by passing the technique from generation to generation. Using thick local grasses and strips of recycled plastic in the traditional technique, the artisans craft baskets and hampers that generate income critical to supporting their families. Wolof Weavers is a cooperative effort of over 100 highly skilled women weaving in nine villages.
WomenCraft is a social enterprise and member of the World Fair Trade Organization working with more than 300 artisans. Artisans practice a weaving technique that is traditional to Hangaza culture weaving in the tri-border region between Rwanda, Tanzania, and Burundi. This specialized coiling technique combines natural grasses interwoven with vibrant materials of the region. This technique is passed down from one generation to the next, specifically from mothers to daughters or women to women. It is also unique to the artisans’ communities.
* “International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples.” United Nations. Web.