Fair-trade handicrafts

”Nuri Umed” is a female lead NGO based in Tajikistan working on the project for social integration of single women-“Women, Land, Life”. The project takes a holistic and conflict-sensitive approach to the social, economic and legal inclusion of marginalized women (in particular single women and their children). It provides knowledge, tools, inputs, and opportunities with an emphasis on self-help in solidarity, participation in the local community decision making and sustainable support in agriculture, ecology, legislation, income generation, and health.

As part of the economic inclusion, there were handicrafts groups formed with the aim to introduce and aid women in the artisanship of producing traditional crafts and therefore help the women in gaining their economic independence. They produce wool carpets from self-made wool treats; pillowcases, tablecloths and other patchwork crafts from recycled materials or embroidery items based on traditional patterns, but also certain clothes items and other small handicrafts.

The idea presented here is to assist them by bringing their handicrafts to Switzerland. The profits would provide not only a fair pay for their work but also support for the project in general. Part of the income will be aimed at the original handicraft group to improve the quality and availability of the services offered. These include equipment (e.g. sewing machines), training of other single-women in traditional handicrafts techniques, participation in fairs and other activities. This, in turn, will provide independence and sustainability for the group to further encourage single women’s integration and economic stability.

It is still only an idea, so any help with previous experiences, knowledge in how to import the products in Switzerland, where and how to sell them, and many more questions that we haven’t even thought of yet, is most welcomed.
It would be a great opportunity, for example, to sell these handicrafts in furniture shops or specialized handicrafts and fair-trade shops, but we lack contacts and network for this.

If there is someone interested in more information on the project or the idea, please be free to contact me.