Creative Handicrafts is a social enterprise based in Mumbai that empowers disadvantaged women of the slum communities through economic independence. It was born out of the love and dedication of one Spanish Missionary Sr. Isabel Martin MCJ and has slowly evolved into a Fair Trade Organisation with a view to changing the world one woman at a time.
In 1984, a Women’s Self Employment Cooperative was created and ten years later registered as an independent organisation. Taking up sewing and crafting textile-based products as their focal activity, this small group of women has grown into Creative Handicrafts as you see it today.
The organisation is set up as a co-operative striving to improve the life of all the female workers who are now co-owners by giving them a change for a new beginning. Acknowledging its mission of supporting women and strengthening them socially, culturally and economically, Creative Handicrafts went one step further and registered itself with the WFTO in 2005.
Creating opportunities and strengthening capacities are Fairtrade key principles, which the partnership with People Tree allows to achieve.
Amanda, who works for Creative Handicrafts resumes: “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.”
Together, this season the women have produced an incredible amount of garments with beautiful special details from the range crafted from broderie anglaise to the abstract print collection and some of the popular V&A styles.