Worldwide annually Earth Day is celebrated to demonstrate the support for environmental protection, on 22 April. SETU marked the occasion by conducting a Community mobilization and Environmental Awareness Program on this day.
The venue selected for the green event was Sant Kabir Ashram, Gwalior. The area has too much concrete but lacks greenery.
The community mobilization program started in the morning. The messages on importance of planting trees and maintaining cleaner and greener surroundings were conveyed to the people.
SETU team planted tree saplings in the area and were joined by volunteers that included local inhabitants of the area as well as prominent social activists.
In all, 30 tree saplings were planted in the area. The local people there vowed to take care of the saplings and help them flourish into large trees!
SETU believes in self sustainable growth of the artisan community and provides self employment opportunities to the underprivileged and downtrodden sections of the society.
Handmade products have a large potential, requires less investment and offers infinite self employment as well as job opportunities. Special needs people with disabilities and persons with weak mental strength can also create handmade products beautifully and can support themselves & their families financially.
With this objective of promoting employment avenues for the differently-abled, a week-long workshop on soy candle making was organised by SETU, starting from 23rd November 2015. The workshop was organized at our partner NGO called Very Special Arts India, Delhi. VSAI is a non-profit organization working with the disabled and underprivileged young population of India.
Since soy candles are less harmful for the environment and the producers and users, as compared to petroleum wax, therefore this needs to be promoted more and more.
An introduction to the environment friendly soy candles was given. Comparisons were shown between the normal wax candles and soy wax candles and also the advantages of using the latter were discussed in detail. The staff members of VSAI too participated in the workshop making it easier for the participants to understand the candle making process. Candles with different designs and textures were made in the workshop. Use of natural aromatic agents and fruits & flowers for beauty & aroma were also shown. Expert trainers were hired to conduct the workshop.
Soy wax is an eco-friendly was, made from soya bean residues. The innovative concept of soy candle making was taken positively by the participants and they felt overwhelmed to be a part of the workshop. The session provided a great learning opportunity to the participants as they can make candles using different types of containers, fragrances and colors and sell them in the market as they have a no. of USPs over traditional wax candles.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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….
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.
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.
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 fromBaladarshanwas also presented an amount of Rs 40,000 for the affected members in Baladarshan.
Artisans were grateful and thanked FTF-I and SIPA for this act of humanity, when they need lot of support.
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 ofCreative 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.
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.