Upasana becomes member of WFTO

Upasana, based in Auroville, became member of FTF-I in the year 2015 and this year we congratulate them for their successfully completing the process of becoming member of World Fair Trade Organization and the member of WFTO Asia as well.

WFTO Logo.png

Activities · Interns

Experience with Interns

FTF-I values and appreciate the interns and volunteers coming from all over the world and contribute with their skills in the growth of the organization. These interns play a very important role in achieving our mission. In return they get the opportunity to visit our member organizations, which provides a wide scope for learning. They get the opportunity to meet the artisans working at the grassroots level.

Interns from Deakin University, Shani and Rebakah visited our members in Delhi and shared their exciting experience. Have a read what they think about Fair Trade and how our members are working for a fair future. Link to the Blog written by interns

This time, in our winter internship programme, we got the opportunity to welcome very talented students from Management background from Indian Institute of Foreign Trade (IIFT), Delhi and Narsee Monjee Institute of Management Sciences (NMIMS), Mumbai successfully completed their internship program at our Delhi office.

Students from Indian Institute of Foreign Trade (IIFT) joined FTF-I from 17 December 2015 Delhi and Narsee Monjee Institute of Management Sciences (NMIMS), Mumbai, joined FTF-I  instates in Delhi and Mumbai.

During their internship period students visited Delhi based Fair Trade India branded shops and contributed in the research project of FTF-I.

Rohit and Nikhil from IIFT, completed their internship programme from 17th December, 2015 to 11 January, 2016. Read what IIFT intern, Rohit has to say, link to the blog.

Abhishek, Dhreej and Mayank from NMIMS students completed their internship from 01st February, 2016 to 24th February, 2016.

NMIMS interns with FTF-I team (L-R: Abhishek, Mayank, Ms Meenu Chopra, ED, FTF-I, Mr Mallikarjuna Iytha, President, FTF-I, Dheeraj and Ms Sadhna Arya, Program Manager, FTF-I)
Activities · Interns

My Stint at Fair Trade Forum – India

A Special write up from our intern, Mr Rohit, IIFT

As part of the Indian Institute of Foreign Trade (IIFT) NGO Partnership program students were required to choose an NGO from the list of participating NGOs in the program. I chose Fair Trade Forum-India out of many options. The reason I chose FTF-I was that I thought that as the NGO has something to do with ‘trade’, this would align more closely with what we are learning and practicing at IIFT, Delhi. Little did I know at that time that FTF-I (part of Fair Trade International world community) was much more than trade. It is doing something truly different than most of the other NGOs.

The first day, we met the staff and we were surprised to see our 3 week schedule was already prepared with the objectives and deliverables. My work, quite aligned to my profile, dealt with preparing a compendium on research papers and literature on Fair Trade which will be of help to FTF-I in preparing the Fair Trade Status Report.

Apart from that the 2 of us had to prepare a Shopping Guide for the customers who have an eye for Fair Trade products. In it we prepared the pitching material for the producer and marketing organization linked to FTF-India.

Fair Trade is quite different from the Free Trade. Most of us would have heard about the WTO, the nodal organization for the promotion of free trade. Fair Trade International and World Fair Trade Organisation work in Fair Trade domain. Fair trade traces its beginnings to the ideas propounded by Max Havelaar and Barrett.

You would be wondering what really is Fair Trade….?

Fair Trade, contrary to free market hypothesis, focuses on the well-being, both socially and economically, of the workers and producers working away at the bottom of the pyramid in South countries. It seeks to protect the artisans, producers, vendors and others from the vagaries of free-trade price shocks by building long term and organic relationships between the North Consumers and South Producers. It seeks to incorporate a meaningful social premium while pricing the goods. In achieving its objectives, it makes sure that the products satisfy the environmental standards and child labour standards and social justice is rendered. Fair Trade Forum-India is part of the Asian Chapter of World Fair Trade Organisation. Apart from certifying various manufacturing, producing and marketing organizations as Fair Trade complying, it also conducts regular workshops, Fair Trade Fests and Trade Fairs in order to find new ethical consumers for the products and spread the message to every nook and cranny of our country. From time to time it has looked for new partnerships, especially with E-commerce ventures and online marketers in order to keep up with the present times of digital age and is trying to use the online medium to raise more awareness about the Fair Trade.

From the list of members of FTF I, we could learn that most of the FTOs are doing a tremendous job at hand. They really are creating some niche products from the ethically sought and merrily provided labour of artisans, farmers, handicraft makers, weavers, workers and countless others

In order to fill some verve and excitement we were given an option to visit some of the Fair Trade Shops (I almost forgot to add FTF shops. This is an initiative to bring Fair Trade products in limelight and an attempt to mainstream the products into conventional markets.) Nikhil and I lapped up this opportunity and visited Aprajita Trust in Qutab Institutional Area and MESH (Maximizing Employment to Serve the Handicapped) shop near Ansal Plaza in Delhi.

IIFT, with Mr Gulati.PNG
Aparjita Store, Qutab Institutional Area, Delhi

The former is a shop run by Aprajita Trust, sheltered in the serene surroundings of Qutab Institutional Area and the Sanjay Van. From the discussion we had with the shop manager we could gather that the shop acted as a nodal point for exporting and selling handicrafts sought from weavers and artisans to business clients.

MESH shop at Uday Park, New Delhi

On the other hand, MESH shop seeks most of its products from people afflicted with leprosy and differently-abled people. The shop manager, himself afflicted with leprosy, was the most joyous and active person I have had seen in my life. He is the epitome of hardwork who in many ways is responsible for the oft-quoted cliché: where there is will there is a way… A polite request for a mugshot was enough to persuade him to stand by our side and smile in his disarming way.

 Cheers to the life and Fair Trade Forum India! Smile for the shutterbugs please….

Activities · Events

Distribution of Flood Relief Contribution to Artisans

A small event was organized by FTF-I and SIPA, for the distribution of funds for the artisans who got affected due to heavy flood in Chennai. Mr Pradeep Krishnappa, Vice-President, Fair Trade Forum-India along with Dr K. Panchakshram distributed funds to the affected artisans and different members on 30th January, 2016 at the SIPA Campus.

Chennai Flood Relief

More than 30 people from various producer groups and artisans attended the event, which included 10 artisans with Mr Chengalvarayan from Pulicat Palmleaf Co op Society, 5 artisans from TAS/Pondicherry with Mr Rajendran, Ms. Gnansundari from WITAWT/Gypsy Beads Centre accompanied by 2 artisans, Mr K. S. Prasad from Baladarshan and team of SIPA.

Chennai Flood Relief 1.PNG

Cash support was given to the members who had lost their stocks and samples in the flood to rebuild what they have lost in the heavy flood. Mr K.S. Prasad from Baladarshan was also presented an amount of Rs 40,000 for the affected members in Baladarshan.

Chennai Flood Relief 2.PNG

Artisans were grateful and thanked FTF-I and SIPA for this act of humanity, when they need lot of support.


Members celebrated International Women’s Day

From women’s suffrage to equal parenting and representation in politics, International Women’s Day (IWD) has celebrated the social, cultural, economic and political achievements of women for more than 100 years.

Giving a break to all the artisans of Creative Handicrafts organized a special screening of the film Gulabi Gang, on the occasion of International Women’s Day at the Holy Spirit Hospital Auditorium from 03:00 PM to 05:00 PM.

The film has got the National Film Awards for the Best Film on Social Issues to Director Nishtha Jain and Producers Pirya Film, Raintree films, Final CUT for Real.

Our member based in Delhi, MESH, organized Women’s Day posters and signature campaign at the MESH shop Delhi in Uday Park.

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On the day, Sasha, Kolkata celebrated, reflection, advocacy and action, both locally and at a global level with, with a film screening, poetry recitation and a sumptuous brunch with the women of Sasha at Sasha Shop.

Member based in Rajasthan, SETU-The Bridge to The Artisans, distributed Solar Lanterns to the Women artisans of their Embroidery and Applique Group based at Barmer.


Activities · Exhibitions

Exhibition of Tribal Jewellery and naturally dyed Hand woven textiles from Odisha

The Ants in collaboration with Kalakriti organized an Exhibition of Tribal Jewellery and naturally dyed Hand woven textiles from Odisha at The Ants store, Bangalore from 18th to 20th December, 2016.

Kalakriti was founded by Mrs. Shobha Toshniwal who was born and brought up in Kolkata but has spent most of her life in a small town called Jeypore in tribal Odisha. Kalakriti helps the local tribal artisans to save their age old art and legacy and gives them a platform to showcase their talents.

The Ants

The organization focuses on the empowerment of the local people and save their age-old traditions, they also engage in social work by providing healthcare and donations to the underprivileged.

Activities · Exhibitions

Sasha and AIM at ‘Purabi’ exhibition


A wide range of handwoven sarees, stoles and dupattas from Bengal was presented at ‘Purabi’ exhibition held at Nature Bazaar, New Delhi by Sasha and Art Illuminates Mankind (AIM). A good exquisite collection of cotton, linens, jamdani, kanthawork, leather, mat, accessories were displayed for sale at this exhibition from 10th to 21st March, 2016.

Craft people from Assam, Manipur, Nagaland, Orrisa, Chhatisgarh, West Bengal, Bihar, Jharkhand presented a wealth of wonderful textiles, basketry, folk art & terracotta, in the exhibition.