Ashirwad (“Blessings”) is a small group of women artisans who work in and around the Kolkata suburbs. The basic objective of the group is the social, economic and psychological well-being of its members, to enable them to provide a better life for themselves and for their families. Ashirwad seeks to upgrade the artisans’ skills, and to promote self-reliance and leadership. The group also fosters entrepreneurial skills among artisans, provides education opportunities and encourages the creation of savings accounts. Although they come from Hindu, Muslim and Christian homes, the artisans of Ashirwad share love and respect for each other.
Ashirwad began as an initiative of Mennonite Central Committee’s (MCC) Global Family sponsorship program. MCC’s program provided training in various skills to large numbers of young women and men. All of the artisans of Ashirwad are socially and economically disadvantaged; Global Family Program has paid for some of their children’s school expenses and for vocational training.
Ten Thousand Villages purchases mirrored garlands, stitched ornaments and items made with recycled glass bangles from Ashirwad. Ten Thousand Villages has purchased products from Ashirwad since 1989.
- Artisan Products