Mahaguthi Craft with a Conscience is a non-profit organisation supporting the development of micro-enterprises and helping marginalised and disadvantaged producers to improve their quality of life in Nepal.
In 1927 a follower of Mahatma Gandhi had a dream of starting an ashram, or spiritual community, where women "refugees" (widowed or deserted by their husbands) could come with their children and find a safe haven. The ashram he founded in Kathmandu, based on Gandhian principles, continues to provide shelter, food, clothing, medical care, education, and vocational training for destitute women and their children. In 1984 Mahaguthi Craft with a Conscience was set up to provide marketing assistance for the women of the ashram and other handcraft artisans in Nepal. Today, 40% of the proceeds from Mahaguthi Crafts with a Conscience help support the 50 women and their children who live at the ashram.
Mahaguthi Craft with a Conscience works with around 150 producer groups with a total of 1,200 artisans. They aim to create a self-help network among these producers, while seeking to preserve their traditions and to improve education and health care in their communities. All producers receive financial and technical assistance, and particularly disadvantaged artisans receive health and education services. Most producers work at home. Special attention is given to women in difficulties, who are offered housing and free primary education for their children.
Thanks to fair trade Mahaguthi is able to offer a fair remuneration to all producer partners. As a result the producers are becoming progressively more independent and are gradually expanding their economic activities.
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A little about Asha Handicrafts: Asha Handicrafts provides the security of markets to small scale artisan workshops around India, like ANSA, the soapnut harvesters in Tamil Nadu.
New Internationalist Australia is a member of the World Fair Trade Organization, which means we have to stock a percentage of Fair Trade products, and also adhere to Fair Trade practices ourselves. Great for supporting producers rights, and also for our staff.
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