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September 24, 2018
This summer I was in New Delhi, India for a short visit. While there I took time to visit Toucan Krafte, a fair trade company that empowers women with health care and training in jewelry making started by Shaina Jarg. The artisan group is made up of economically disadvantaged women from villages and slums just outside of New Delhi, India.
It was interesting to see that the workshop was not headquartered in downtown Delhi or a posh suburb but right in the heart of the basti (settlement) where the artisans can walk to the workshop.
Shaina runs a training program for her artisans where they are taught how to bead jewelry and the craft. They are given instruction and mentored by their peers who are more advanced in the skill. Women with little skill level are always welcome at Toucan Krafte as long as they are willing to learn and are committed to the craft.
The business model is really conducive for women artisan who has other responsibilities in their homes and can dedicate only a few hours each day to earn fair wages and help support their families.
After their in-house training is complete, the women can take all the materials needed to make the jewelry home to work at their own pace. They are paid once they return back with the finished products. This way they work when it’s convenient without committing to a 9-5 work culture. More of a part-time model balancing the role of being a mother, a wife, a daughter in law but more importantly a bread earner.
I am fascinated with this business model. Shaina has really understood the difficulties these women face in their day to day lives and has come up with a solution that benefits both: the business and the artisans. Trust and love are strong factors that bind this organization. Shaina is well respected and looks after her artisans with compassion and goes that extra mile to show her commitment to her mission and her artisans.
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