One Maker’s Story
At Association for Craft Producers (ACP) in Kathmandu, Nepal, 90% of their nearly 1,000 artisans are women. They receive savings programs, a medical allowance, education assistance, paid maternity leave, clothing allowance, and on-site meals with clean drinking water. ACP ensures safe and sustainable working conditions through the use of solar panels, their own wastewater treatment plant, and a rainwater harvesting system.
“When women have money, they have a say in the family… and their voice is heard. She gains confidence. Life becomes important for her. And so that’s in the real sense, that’s economic empowerment.” – Meera Bhattarai, CEO and founding member of ACP.
ACP and Ten Thousand Villages, working together since 1987.
It Takes a Village
Breaking the cycle of poverty and igniting social change starts with you. Joining the movement is as simple as making a donation to support interest-free microfinance investments for artisans, many of whom are women and others often excluded from the global economy.
Investments are not handouts. Your donation helps artisans stay in business and out of debt, earn a fair wage that puts food on the table, maintain access to healthcare, and provide education opportunities. You are developing and training makers who, in turn, ignite community health and growth. Your generous investment changes lives across ten thousand villages.
Together, we are the solution to economic injustice.
Ten Thousand Villages believes that fighting global poverty means addressing root causes and finding solutions. That providing safe working conditions, fair wages, and financial stability goes farther than giving charity. That empowering women and others excluded from the global economy inspires them to create positive change for their families and communities.
As the fair trade pioneer, we’ve been living sustainable development principles long enough to see how growing financial stability breaks the cycle of generational poverty.
But there is still a long way to go. Poverty and exploitation are still a reality, and we will continue to invest in and partner with artisans around the world until all are able to live a life of quality and help their families and communities thrive.
Your donations and conscientious purchases are part of the solution to global economic injustice.
These are just a few artisan partners affected by your contribution.
PERU – ALLPA
Working together since 1988
VIETNAM – MAI
Working together since 1994
GUATEMALA – UPAVIM
Working together since 1994
PHILIPPINES – Saffy Handicrafts
Working together since 1986
KENYA – OTICART
Working together since 2001
INDIA – Noah’s Ark
Working together since 1992
When marginalized people have dignified opportunities to earn a fair wage …
Food is on the table
Children stay healthy and go to school
Families build homes and save for the future
Communities are strengthened
Today, Ten Thousand Villages impacts tens of thousands of artisans who would otherwise be unemployed or underpaid and living in extreme poverty.
in international artisan investments over the last 16 years
of artisans are women
Why Ten Thousand Villages?
Our mission is based on perpetuating maker investments and programs.
Revenue reinvested in perpetuating our maker-to-market mission
Revenue applied to administration and other costs
We are the experts.
The US pioneer in fair trade, Ten Thousand Villages has more than 70 years of small-to-medium enterprise funding and fair trade know-how. We are a founding member of the World Fair Trade Organization, and we have a proven approach to social transformation through the sustainable development goals we helped to author.
A time-tested, trusted partner.
Unlike traditional retailers, we do not abandon artisan partners or redefine fair pricing when markets demand change, trends shift, or economic health declines. Our enduring partnerships with artisans – some for more than three decades – mean that makers trust us. You can, too.
We get results.
The history of artisan partners shows that we have broken the cycle of generational poverty and enabled sustainable development opportunities for tens of thousands of artisans globally. Our direct, non-interest bearing, upfront amounts to $99 million in international artisan purchases and just $31,000 in default accounts over the last 16 years. That’s less than 0.15% in any unmet artisan commitment.
How it Works
Ten Thousand Villages’ ethical artisan investment model puts the maker first. Every aspect of this model is designed to give artisans opportunities to gain a safety net of financial stability and escape the cycle of poverty.
Transparent price agreement
Commitment to fair wage pricing, paid despite economic changes.
Interest-free microfinance investment
50% payment upfront enables raw material purchases, handcraft production, and maker protection from exploitative loans.
Crafting of product
Strong partnership promotes artisan development and business growth.
Payment before export
Full payment is made before product is shipped, removing all financial risk for makers.
Marketplace for product
Handcrafted products from around the world are made available to the marketplace, established and maintained by Ten Thousand Villages.
Empowered makers and thriving communities
Made possible by a safety net of dependable income and the foundations built through artisan development.