Association for Craft Producers (ACP)
The Association for Craft Producers (ACP) is a local, not for profit, fair trade organization nestled at the foot of the Himalayas, providing design, marketing, management, and technical services to low-income Nepali craft producers. Founded in 1984 with just 38 producers, five full time staff members and three skill categories, ACP has grown to around 1000 artisans (90% female), 60 full time staff members, 20 skill categories, and has expanded from a 4000 sq. feet building to a spacious 45,000 sq. feet facility.
ACP is a resource to advance and globally distribute women's work in felting, block printing, weaving, and sewing. ACP takes careful and deliberate steps to preserve the environment. They have installed a waste water treatment plant and rainwater harvesting system, use recycled paper, and discourage the use of plastic bags. Soft wood is used for carpentry and they have shifted from oil to water based pigments for printing and substituted acetic acid with hydrochloric acid in dyeing. They are harnessing the steam released during cooling off of the boilers in the dyeing to heat water for felting and have made changeover from kerosene based firing to electric firing for ceramics.
Financial independence is linked with increased self-esteem and social standing for women who work in fair trade enterprises. This is especially true at the Association for Craft Producers (ACP). ACP producers enjoy of benefits like medical, education allowances, work incentives and performance rewards, a workshop cafeteria, producers saving program, paid maternity leave and much more.
In some villages in Nepal, the climate and soil conditions are so difficult that families can only grow enough food for two months of the year. The girls and young women in these villages are especially vulnerable to sex traffickers who deceive them into believing they will help them get a legitimate job. Eternal Threads is providing vocational training in tailoring to “at risk” girls in villages giving them the skills to earn an income that will protect them from exploitation and give them hope for a better life. In partnership, Eternal Threads and the Red Thread Movement are able to help save over 2,000 girls a year from traffickers. Rescued girls, who live in the safe houses from six months to a year, are not only given counseling, but also receive vocational tailoring and beautician training.
Most of the artisans they endeavor to help have handicraft skills involving threads of one kind or another like wool, silk, cotton, raffia, plastic twine, or cording for jewelry. Each artisan with has chosen various indigenous handicrafts as part of their product line. This creates products very unique to the geographical area and culture, while also affirming the beauty in each culture. Each skill, whether it is embroidery, crocheting, or weaving may have been passed down for generations and is inherent in the community’s identity.
Created in partnership with Eternal Threads™, the woven loop-and-tie bracelet provides life-saving income for a Nepalese girl rescued from a life of slavery along the Nepal-India border. In addition to helping to fund a safe house and anti-trafficking border units in Nepal, the bracelet raises awareness of the millions still in bondage to modern-day slavery around the world.
Kumbeshwar Technical School
Kumbeshwar Technical School (KTS), a fair-trade organization, was established in 1983 by a former State Council Member. KTS was originally intended to assist the local Pode community of street-sweepers, an "untouchables" caste with few opportunities. At the heart of KTS are their producers, who create beautiful knitwear, carpets and furniture which capture the essence of Nepal’s artisan heritage in contemporary designs. KTS has over 240 producers, benefiting over 2,500 family and local community members.
It has grown into an educational and vocational training center for low-income families throughout Nepal who develop skills in carpet-weaving, knitting, jewelry-making, or carpentry.
KTS artisans receive a wide-ranging package of benefits, including a steady income, health care and insurance and low-interest loans. KTS also provides free primary education to all producers’ children who live locally and sponsors higher secondary schooling for families unable to afford further education for their children. In addition to the schools, it also provides childcare for workers, adult literacy classes, a nutrition and health clinic, and an orphanage.
Sana Hastakala was established in 1989 and it is located in Laltipu, Nepal. Sana Hastakala in Nepal translates as "small producer." The organization works with several small women's cooperatives in order to create a market for their products. The group of about 18 women work from a home workshop among small crop fields beneath a view of the Himalayas.
Nepali women have been weaving beads traditionally for centuries. KABW, one of Sana Hastakala’s groups, utilizes this traditional skill as an income generating source for women in need in rural Nepal. Above all else, Sana Hastakala is dedicated to fostering the resurgence of traditional craft skills and the use of modern techniques. By doing so, Nepal’s underprivileged, predominately female, handicraft producers will achieve sustainable livelihoods.
This premier fair trade organization in Nepal provides women a good living wage, skills training, health care and added emergency financial support when needed.