Silence is a self–help project for artisans who are deaf or physically disabled. In a country where unemployment is high, people who are disabled rarely find work. The situation is even more difficult for women with disabilities. Silence works to help their artisans become self–sufficient and earn their living, training team members in different skills. After completing Silence’s training courses, artisans are encouraged to move into commercial housing so that new artisans can be trained. Silence artisans produce incense sticks, candles, greeting cards and jewelry. These are exported or sold locally at Silence’s retail store. Artisan benefits include a retirement fund, health and personal accident insurance (the latter important due to disabilities), profit sharing and certification of disability to qualify for free bus transit and reduced government taxation.
Silence started in 1977. Silence began with only four artisans who made greeting cards and pictures to sell throughout Kolkata. It has grown to include a training institute with vocational training in arts and crafts. Silence was awarded first prize of the 2002 Helen Keller National Award for employment of physically challenged persons. In 2004 they received the President’s Award for Institution Category and the state award for Service to the Handicapped, adding to their list of five awards over the past few years.
Ten Thousand Villages purchases incense sticks, cards, jewelry and candles from Silence. Ten Thousand Villages has purchased products from Silence since 1983.
- Artisan Products