Dhaka Handicrafts is a fair trade company founded in 1976. They work with 1375 impoverished artisan families in Bangladesh to bring their traditional handcrafted items to the international marketplace. The artisans construct baskets out of the abundant natural resources in the area like jute, cane, and bamboo. They also use environmentally friendly recycled plastic and cotton. Dhaka helps the artisans improve their basket making skills by providing training for
quality improvement and product development.
This group provides a fair income to all their artisans regardless of fluctuations in demand. They also value self-sufficiency. All artisans are taught how to save part of their income and are given individualized plans to save for old age security.
Dhaka also focuses on women empowerment. Over 90% of the artisans are women. It is much more difficult for women in rural villages to get employment, so Dhaka creates opportunities for them. The company also encourages women’s leadership. Their artisans learn to be independent and have a voice. In some cases, the wife is the primary income earner in the family. Thanks to their sustainable income from their handicrafts, they can support their family and finance their children’s education.