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. Ten Thousand Villages has purchased products from Ashirwad since 1989.