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About the Producer: Creative Handicrafts

Creative Handicrafts is a social enterprise based in Mumbai that works to empower disadvantaged women of the slum communities through economic independence.

Over the last 30 years, Creative Handicrafts has evolved into a Fair Trade Organisation with a view to changing the world one woman at a time. Since its inception in 1984 and registration in 1994, Creative Handicrafts has slowly grown into a Fair Trade Organisation that supports the women who make textile-based, Fair Trade Certified products.

Creative Handicrafts was born out of the love and dedication of one Spanish Missionary Sr. Isabel Martin MCJ, who lived, worked, and changed the lives of the women who are now members of CH.

With initial support from Jeevan Nirvaha Niketan (JNN), a Women's Self Employment Cooperative (WSEC) was created. Gradually, it was registered as an independent organisation called Creative Handicrafts in 1994. Taking up sewing as their focal activity, this small group of women has grown into Creative Handicrafts as you see it today. They are a co-operative and the workers are co-owners. Acknowledging its mission of empowering women and strengthening them socially, culturally and economically, CH went one step further and registered itself with the Fair Trade Network in 2005.

The focus of Creative Handicrafts is not the women alone but their families too - especially their children. This is reflected in the various projects undertaken. In keeping with its mission, Creative Handicrafts  also started a catering service managed by women who could not pick up the skill of sewing. This project is now run under the name 'ASLI FOODS' and is managed independently by the women themselves.

The world is fuelled by a desire to make profit for a few by exploiting the many. Creative Handicrafts begs to differ, and strives to make many breadwinners - giving them dignity of labour and a chance for a new beginning. 

The Makers

Creating opportunities and strengthening capacities are Fairtrade key principles, which the partnership with People Tree allows to achieve.

Amanda, who works for Creative Handicrafts, explains:

“At Creative Handicrafts, we are grateful for a continuous flow of orders from People Tree as it is here that we can give hope to women of less fortunate backgrounds. Their orders make the women push their technical and tailoring skills to a level they did not see possible and they are thoroughly surprised with the beautiful garments they are able to produce by standing up to the challenge.  The People Tree team, constantly innovating, give our women an opportunity to learn and women with little or no basic education have a chance of becoming financially independent. Through our work, nameless, faceless individuals are able to find an identity of their own. Truly there is no better joy than to experience smiles on their faces when they speak about becoming financially sustainable and thereby being able to educate their children and create better prospects for them.”

Rosy Solanki, who previously worked as a tailor and developed to overseeing garment productions, adds: “People Tree moves ahead with the latest fashion and technology but does not forget us or our stories and carries us along with them; helping us grow and aim higher to achieve greater goals.”

Chandra Singh, Stitching Operator at CH crafts around eight to ten easy pieces or two to three challenging ones a day and especially enjoys the challenge of stitching new patterns. Asking her what she likes most about her job, she replies: “I like working together as a group with the other women at Creative Handicrafts, there is great unity in our team.”


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