Asha Handicrafts Association, a Fair Trade organization, was founded in 1975 by a group of Indian business men concerned with the poverty and loss of expertise among the artisans of traditional Indian crafts. Asha means "hope" in Sanskrit and its vision and mission statement is "to provide marketing support to our artisans through sustainable global marketing and help them to preserve the art and craft of India'.
Based in Thane Palghar on the west coast of India, north of Mumbai, Asha Handicrafts represents more than 6500 artisans throughout India. Asha works to market to the world such products as jewelry, horn and bone items, weavings, textiles, as well as wood, ceramic and decorative items. Not only does this create a sustainable income for the artisans, if preserves traditional Indian handicrafts. Asha now has many third generation artisans.
Asha encourages cottage industries and promotes products made by women who are empowered and hold positions of authority and responsibility within the organization.
Profits are ploughed back into programs that include marketing, designing, product development, interest free loans and savings programs as well as medical and social benefits for the artisans and their families.
Asha Handicrafts Association gives artisans dignity by enabling them to create and market their handicrafts which provide a fair Income for themselves and their families and in doing so preserves the traditional Indian handicrafts.