Shilpa Trust is based in Bangalore, the capital of the Indian state of Karnataka. Located in the southeastern part of the state, Bangalore is India’s third most populous city and is home to a large sector of India’s IT industry. Shilpa, however, works with economically disadvantaged artisans, many of whom have not had access to education. The artisans are based within 16 small workshops, many of which are family owned and quite small. These workshops produce a variety of wooden products, including toys and games and ornaments.
The Managing Trustee of Shilpa Trust, Mr. M. Bhupathy, has been active within India’s fair trade community and is himself an accomplished craftsperson. He originally learned wood carving and turning from his father, who earning his living as an artisan. After his marriage, Bhupathy was given responsibility for supporting his extended family. At the same time, be began to observe the business practices of retail agents in the community, and decided he wanted to bypass these intermediaries and create an organization that would be of more benefit for artisans. With the mentorship of K. Panchaksharam, Secretary and CEO of SIPA, Bhupathy established Shilpa Trust in 1992. Shilpa Trust provides artisans with children's educational assistance, free health check-ups, social security insurance, a loan program, skill training and product development.
Ten Thousand Villages purchases wood toys, games and ornaments from Shilpa Trust. Ten Thousand Villages started purchasing directly from Shilpa Trust in 2008, having previously purchased through South India Producers Association.
- Artisan Products