The small purchases you make, can go a long way in creating sustainable livelihoods for India's artisans.
HOW? - Buy from sellers who work directly with Artisans & (SHGs) Self Help Groups or buy from firms that are Fair trade members.
Fair trade awareness is still low in India and in some cases organisations that are aware are in the process of obtaining membership as it requires the seller to have been a business for a certain no. of years; so blindly insisting on FT products here, may not eventually help the cause of Indian artisans.
In most cases organisations/ sellers working directly with Artisans, will be able to give you the name of the artisan producing the object (along with his story - if you're interested :)) ; even if they are not yet Fair trade members.
The seller usually goes back to the artisan to source more (thus ensuring year round employment) and as the product sales gain momentum, even invests in capacity building or improving processes. Either ways, it increases the sellers stake/ involvement in the artisans well being & there is greater information & knowledge sharing resulting in higher production or better products.
Fair trade products & memberships are another fool proof method of ensuring that the artisan/ producer involved in the goods production has got his due.
What is Fair Trade?
In the World today, nations & consumers are more ready than ever to give the marginalized and poor their due. They recognise the disparity in livelihoods and lives that they lead themselves as consumers against poor artisans & producers who have limited avenues & options for growth.
Thus, they - consumers & stakeholders at various stages of the value chain are now actively engaged in supporting producers (artisans) to access markets, build capacity, ensure favourable payment terms in order to establish a trading relationship based on respect, transparency and open dialogue and this is the called Fair trade.
As consumers, by buying from seller groups working with the needy, asking the right questions, knowing where & how the product you purchased was produced & brought to you; YOU can do your bit.