Protection from Relaxed Labour Laws

Gabriel, MESH’s Social Worker recently had a chat with Anita from their respective lockdowns to talk a bit about how the lockdown is affecting Anand Crafts Tatting and Book-Binding group and why they like Fair Trade

Gabriel: Tell us a little about yourself and Anand Crafts

Anita: Around the time when my second son was born, it was tough to manage all our house expenses with my husband’s earnings alone. I started to look for work so as to help with the family expenses. Anand Crafts a self-help group for women already existed in our leprosy colony which was producing tatted products like Christmas decoration items & jewellery. The women would get trained so that they could learn different techniques to make tatted products and give quality. The women in the group worked from home which was convenient for me as I could look after my younger son, manage my house and earn at same time. When I approached the group they asked me to join the training and learn tatting techniques and how to reach the required standard. I have been President of the group for the last 13 years. My husband has always supported me; he has an accounts background and could guide me on how to maintain payment records, cost of raw materials, all things I needed to do as group leader. I also got lot of support from MESH.

Gabriel: How are you managing during this Corona lockdown?

Anita: Most of the group members are managing their expenses from their savings which they saved from the work that they did for the group. We spend our time cooking and managing our family and household works.

Gabriel: What are the challenges for your group?

Anita: It has been difficult situation for us because we are fully dependent on export sales through MESH. Selling our products locally is a big challenge and with the given situation people prefer to buy essential commodities rather than jewellery or decorative items.

Gabriel: Anand Crafts is practicing Fair Trade, what do you think about that?

Anita: It is beneficial for us to be part of fair trade as it strives towards workers welfare. Recently some of our state governments during this lockdown relaxed labour laws and extended working time to 12 hours. In such circumstances being part of the fair trade network provides us support from such pressures. We became fair trade because no one should feel they are under paid for that that they do. We are able to get value for money for the work that we do.
I especially like the fair trade principle that says No discrimination – Everyone should be treated equally then persons with disability will be treated with respect and dignity.

Over the years we worked to bring transparency in our group which is another fair trade principle. All women in our group are aware of the ongoing orders, labour costs of different products that we work with and how much each is being paid in the group.

Gabriel: - What does it mean to you and your family to have work/ livelihood?

Anita: - All the women in the group were able to cover their children’s school fee, and other small expenses for their family such as purchase of cooking gas cylinder. They were able to save some money for their children’s marriage. It isn’t regular income (because it is dependent on orders) but it has significantly helped to sustain our families.

Gabriel: What is your hope for the future?

Anita: We hope than soon COVID 19 pandemic will get over. We want to develop products that will interest our local customers. We want people to buy our tatted book marks, decorations and tatted earrings or hand bound notebooks.

To find out more about Anand Crafts click here

Check out tatted earrings to order here

Send us your wholesale order here