Dhaka Handicrafts

Dhaka Handicrafts has worked to improve the lives of children and rural families in Bangladesh since 1974 through a variety of social programs.  Artisans working in family workshops make a variety of traditional wicker handicrafts from bamboo, cane, grass, and wood as well as clay pots.  Approximately 14,000 members from 64 groups benefit from handicrafts production and a compulsory savings plan that earns interest as well as an emergency medical fund for members.  Artisans craft both terra cotta items and basketry products from local materials. 



Prokritee, meaning "nature" in Bengali, is an agency that provides managerial, product design and development, and marketing assistance to eight handicraft organizations in Bangladesh.  Prokritee and it's enterprises provide jobs for poor rural women, often widows, divorcees or head-of-households with little or no income.  The organization provides skills development training to artisans.  Prokritee creates and promotes income-generating projects that benefit the artisans, adhere to good safety and environmental standards, and have the potential to become self-reliant.  



Hajiganj works with marginalized people in Bangladesh's Nilphamari District.  The group is located in one of the poorest areas in Bangladesh, where people are mostly dependent on hiring out to rich farmers who pay very low wages.  Benefits to artisans include profit distribution, a producer security fund, medical allowance and skill development.  Hajiganj was established in 1998 in the village of the same name, in northwestern Bangladesh.  Initially the women artisans made baskets from kaisa grass, later adding a crochet unit.



Pebble, a Fair Trade group in Bangladesh, currently works with over 5,000 rural women providing a place close to their homes in which they can work flexible hours.  This number is growing as the demand for Pebble Products grows and new centers are started.  These rural workplaces provide a welcome alternative to these women who previously often had to move to  a large city to work in the garment industry.  Pebble believes that entrepreneurship and enterprise is one of the most empowering and sustainable ways for people to come out of poverty with dignity.