Why Artisans?

The artisan sector is the second largest employer of rural communities after agriculture in the Majority World, serving as a default occupation for those with limited employment options*. Residents in rural communities have limited access to capital, especially when most banks prefer to establish themselves in urban cities.**

Artisan work provides not only a low barrier to entry into the workforce, but also flexible working hours for homemakers and caregivers as well as labor independence.** Moreover, it prevents the rural migration into cities for work and keeps the family together.

Rwanda and Uganda

Indego Africa

Indego Africa is a nonprofit organization started in an effort to help empower women in post-genocide Rwanda. Indego partners with cooperatives of world-class artisans in Rwanda and Ghana, composed of women and refugees, in fair trade of their handcrafted products. 100% of its profits is used towards long-term skills training programs in financial management, entrepreneurship, literacy, and computers to the artisans and local youth. The programs are administered by top Rwandan university students.

Indego Africa is a member of the Fair Trade Federation.



A socially-focused business, dedicated to creating sustainable employment for women artisans in Colombia by revitalizing the craft of making textiles and collaborating to innovate in product and design.

Rwanda and Uganda

All Across Africa

All Across Africa is a social enterprise that economically and socially empower artisans in Rwanda and Uganda. The organization provides fair living wages and good working conditions for artisans and proudly carries the Nest Seal of Ethical Transparency. Through their partnership, artisans have been able to have the means to send their children to school, open savings accounts, afford healthcare, and reduce hunger.



Manushi is a fair trade nonprofit organization, recognized by the World Fair Trade Organization (WFTO), that helps disadvantaged, marginalized, and low-income producers in Nepal through a social business model. 90% of their artisans are women. Although Nepali women constitutionally have rights, their culture discriminates them from accessing employment and financing opportunities. Manushi
equips them with handicraft skills and provides a microfinance program so they can earn a sustainable income and have access to capital to start businesses.



Rishilpi is nonprofit organization with a mission of giving work to marginalized, outcast, and disabled people. Based in Southwest of Bangladesh, it was founded to improve the lives of the “untouchables” Rishi caste. Traditionally, the caste of leather workers have lived in the margins of Bengali society. Without land or easy access to school, many struggled to find employment to survive. By providing education and jobs, Rishilpi helps them access a sustainable livelihood. Additionally, the organization provides education sponsorship,
healthcare, micro-credit savings program, early marriage prevention of child brides, relief, and development work in rural Bangladesh communities.



MESH is an Indian nonprofit organization that provides employment and training to disabled and leprosy affected individuals. A member of the World Fair Trade Organization, MESH provides fair wages, skills training, and safe working conditions to the workers. Many disabled people and lepers in India are stigmatized and therefore marginalized; they, hence, find difficulty working. Some women have been disabled from domestic abuse accidents by in-laws, which is not uncommon in India.

Citation *

*qtd. in United States Agency for International Development. Global Market Assessment for Handicrafts, pp. 1-55. July 2006.

**Bhat, Jahangir Ahmad, and Pushpender Yadav. Handicraft Sector: The Comforting Sector of Employment Review, Management Studies and Economic Systems (MSES), no. 3 (2), 4 Mar. 2017, pp. 111–117. Autumn 2016.