Settled in the small town of Narsapur, India a Cooperative Society offemale lace artisans use ancient traditions to hand crochet Heartsdesigns. The 100-year lace making history of this society is colorful,starting with the introduction of the art by one Scottish woman andleading to the exploitation of artisans by middlemen who sold their laceproducts without paying fair wages or providing stable work.
After two years of working to convince women in surrounding villages tobegin a cooperative society, one exploited artisan was able to fightagainst the middlemen exporters and form a safe society for hercommunity. Successful registration of the Fair Trade Cooperative Societyoccurred in May of 1979 and has a present strength of 610 artisans, allof whom are paid fair wages and work in a healthy environment.
The social premium from the sale of Hearts products goes towards anumber of great projects, including free eye tests and glasses to theartisans, income to widows and those too old to work, and food to AIDSorphans. They also make free school uniforms for their artisans childrenor many of the locals who are too poor to afford them. Many,particularly the retired, also receive blankets, saris, and extra foodin the event of a natural disaster.
One person really can make a difference!