Handmade Expressions from India

Artisan Handmade Expressions

Manish Gupta was a successful operations manager for a tech company in Austin, Texas when he became interested in fair trade. During a visit to his birthplace in Rajasthan, India in 2005, he observed that many people in the region subsisted on less than $1 per day -- and he decided to do something about it.

Manish began working with NGOs and cooperatives to build a fair trade network that would provide living wages for its artisans. The result was Handmade Expressions, a network of artisan groups that produce high quality handcrafted goods for an eager global marketplace. Handmade Expressions currently works with over twenty artisan collectives in the Rajasthan region and has offices in both the U.S. and India. Manish Gupta serves on the Board of Directors of the Fair Trade Federation of North America.

Nyishi Tribe: Escaping Child Marriage

Girls born into the Himalayan Nyishi Tribe are often taken from their families and forced into child marriage without any rights, economic opportunity, or hope for a better life. The few possessions they have are taken away to discourage them from attempting to escape from their much older husbands. Remarkably, however, many brave young girls do run away, even though there are few places for them to go. To provide a safe place for them to get a new start, Handmade Expressions founded the Short Stay Home.

The Short Stay Home provides artisan training that enables these young women to support themselves by creating traditional jewelry and ornaments. They create these unique works using beads fashioned from pine resin, along with locally sourced stones, gems, and metals. During their time at the Short Stay Home they also learn weaving, tailoring, and other skills to ensure their future economic well-being. By supporting these Nyishi artisans through fair trade, you are helping a new generation of women become self-sufficient and find new hope for the future.

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