Message from the Director

Mr. Johny Joseph

Mr. Johny Joseph ( Director )

Welcome to the Website of Creative Handicrafts! Your journey through the website will give you a glimpse of the role Creative Handicrafts (Ch) plays in the development and empowerment of women in the slum communities of Mumbai.

For those who are familiar with our old website, I hope, this is a welcome change. The new design, executed with professional help and expertise from dedicated volunteers, will please you all. I would like to hear from you and we will be happy to incorporate your suggestions in making it more pleasing to you.

In our pursuit of empowerment of women, especially economic empowerment, we have been trying to do Business in an environment of Social work, often perceived as two incompatibles, in a very competitive, quality and price conscious market. On the one hand we had to develop world class products, produce them and market them to remain in the market (A loser has no place in the market). And on the other hand, Our women members struggled to understand what “world class” and “international quality” would mean. But we had no choice but to face the challenge through rigorous training, re-engineering of our product range to suit both the skills and capacity of women and the fashion of Europeans, entering into networks, and exploring new markets. I am proud to share with you that we have succeeded to a great extend in penetrating the market with the strong support of the fair trade partners in Europe and United States.

Looking back, I feel we have moved beyond the target that we had set for ourselves. Today we are a certified Fair Trade organization that commands a lot of respect in the fair trade fraternity. We have not been hesitant to enter into the demanding world of fashion and produce products for the main stream market. Our women members also always rose up to the demand. In the last 10 years, our turnover has scaled up 30 times which is not a small feat for a small organization like ours.

Our founder and trustees have always been stressing that the economic development of the women does not automatically guarantee the holistic development of a woman. This is very true and our community development department has been working to bring about this change in the mindset of women that will make them more empowered and wholesome.

The sponsorship program and the pre-school education program for children of the slum and the tribal areas guarantee that the children, who are unlikely to see the corridors of a formal school, make it through the educational filter. The sponsorship program makes it a point that the children of our women, most importantly the girl children, get a decent schooling. The saving and credit program tries to address the pressing need for loans among the poor but tries to make sure that it does not make them more indebted.

Looking into the future I strongly feel that fair trade is the answer to the impending poverty and poverty related problems. Fair trade needs to move out of the conventional handicrafts and food sectors to producing anything and everything that is of human utility. The answer to the alarming inequality in the society is to involve the mass in production and ensure that they get their fair due. I would like to see Creative Handicrafts reach out to more women, beyond the existing groups, beyond the city of Mumbai, to rural women who live in much misery and deprivation. CH should be able to provide sponsorship for thousands of children who are deprived of a decent schooling. However, all this should be done without CH losing its identity and core value of being an organization that stands and works for the most deprived.

I conclude by saying that it gives me immense joy to see that change is happening in the lives of these women but the real change happens in the generation next. It takes more than a generation to effect a substantial change. I thank all our supporters and partners who have relentlessly supported us all through the past 30 years.

Thank you,

Mr. Johny Joseph ( Director )
I strongly feel that fair trade is the answer to the impending poverty.

Today we are a certified Fair Trade organization that commands a lot of respect in the fair trade fraternity.
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