"We support 3,524 artisans in 154 artisan groups. We provide product design assistance, credit fund access, accounting training, leadership development and HIV/AIDS awareness."
Bertha Giti Baroi is the director of a Bangladeshi fair trade organization that works for the welfare of the rural women artisans. She talks about her experiences while working with artisans.
"The organization was established in 1971 after the War of Independence to help war widows, victims and marginalized rural women who had become dependent on relief and sympathy. Our organization formed a cooperative handicraft project exclusively for women. We have been creating and exporting handicrafts around the world since 1973.
"For the first eight months, the group worked from a two-room garage.
"I joined this organization in 1998, at a time when the organization needed marketing personality to meet fair trade and market expectations. We needed a lot of help to serve more women. I feel proud that in 12 years, I was able to increase our activities and now we are supporting women workers and working for the welfare of the rural women artisans.
"We support 3,524 artisans in 154 artisan groups. We provide product design assistance, credit fund access, accounting training, leadership development and HIV/AIDS awareness. We also use part of the funds from craft sales to provide educational support to poor students who would otherwise not have an opportunity to attend school.
"Many of our artisan's crafts are made from terracotta, clay, paper and jute, a sustainable fiber found abundantly in Bangladesh. We have been working with jute farmers who had begun to abandon their harvest because of low prices. Together, they are developing high-quality, organic, fair trade jute that will benefit small farmers and artisans as well.
"We hope that our collaboration with Novica will help provide employment to rural women, people with disabilities and India's tribal people to ensure them a fair income so they can live with dignity."