Association for Craft Producers (ACP) from Nepal
Financial independence is linked with increased self-esteem and social standing for women who work in fair-trade enterprise. This is especially true at the Association for Craft Producers (ACP), where traditional craft meets modern design and technology, in their cooperative of artisans working in 15 districts across Nepal.
Indira Tamang is a weaver who, as a small girl, was not allowed to attend school like her brothers. At age 17, she moved from her home in Eastern Nepal to Kathmandu to work as a carpet weaver. Soon, she married Thanka, a painter, but his work was irregular. In desperation, he took out a loan and moved to Malaysia in search of better work. His wages mostly went to pay back his loan, however, and Indira was left destitute with their young daughter and two other family members to support. Through a fellow weaver she learned about ACP, and quickly trained to weave fabric. Now she is able to afford to send her own daughter to school, while saving money for emergencies and a home of her own.
Founded in 1984 by Meera Bhattarai with only 38 producers working in three craft skills, this fair trade, non-profit organization now serves 1,200 artisans – 90% female – representing 20 craft skills. ACP works in creative collaboration with them as they provide marketing, management and technical services to low-income Nepalese craft producers who are able to sell their handicrafts to more than 18 countries.