Asha Handicrafts
news and events
our products
community projects
meet our artisans
value of fair trade
To put people before profits.
To do business with a view to transform lives.
Ensure producers gets a fair share of the retail value of their product.
Ensure no child labour is involved in the production process.

Latest News


Asha Handicrafts Association, a Fair Trade Organization, participated in theDream Run category of the Standard Chartered Mumbai Marathon to increase the general awareness of Fair Trade.

Resource Center Activity

Producer Training 1: Producer Training was organized in Mumbai on 25th & 26th August’2016 on Cash Flow Management. There were 18 producer heads participated in this training from Saharanpur, Moradabad, Jaipur, Jodhpur & Agra.

The workshop focused on managing finance and controlling production process & Impact of leadership styles on business

On 25th August - Cash Flow Management:

Resource Person: Ms. Reena Sen

Topics covered:

·         Sources of funds available to producers

·         Procedures for availing credit facilities with the bank documents required

·         How to manage the funds available keeping record for effective cash flow management.

      Predicting the expense needs for producing raw materials, payment to artisans

 On 26th August

Payment procedure of Asha Handicrafts (How ASHA manage cash flow)

Resource Person: Patricia Lewis

  • Discussed Difficulties experienced by different  producers
  • Changes Asha has introduced to solve the above problems

·         Importance of Documents like Invoice copies, Challan copies etc.

·         H-Forms


Producer Training 2 : Producer Training was organized in Jaipur on 22nd June’2016 on Fair Trade: WFTO Guarantee System. There were 13 producer heads participated in this training from Jaipur, Jodhpur & Agra.

Following points covered in PPT Discussions:
1. WFTO and Fair Trade  Movement worldwide
2. SFTMS and Fair Trade Lebel
3. WFTO Guarantee System Overview
a. Introduction of WFTO GS 
b. GS Process and Monitoring process
c. Guarantee system application... 10 principles

Detailed discussion held on:

1.      Practicing 10 principles at the producer level

2.      Fair Trade documentation required

3.      Traceability of raw material

4.      Volume order production planning

5.      Quality assurance and timely delivery

6.      Payment of fair wage and gender equity

7.      Safety at workplace, etc..

Finally, producers were able to understand fair trade values and its benefits and their responsibilities in Fair Trade Guarantee System. 

 Artisan Assistance Program – El Puente

El Puente is a one of our biggest buyers from Germany and their work is not profit-orientated. One of their social Initiatives is to give a premium of 3% of the FOB value for complete and timely delivery of their orders and in regards to this initiative of El Puente.

In year 2016 Asha has helped 189 Artisans families of 21 Producer groups from the state of Maharashtra, Rajasthan, and Delhi & Uttar Pradesh. Our artisans were very pleased to receive a gift, felt motivated and very much appreciated.

          Details of Assistance provided to the Artisans groups:

·         4 Nos. Of Dinner Sets to Jewellery Artisans from Delhi

·         3 Nos. Of Mixer, Grinder to Stone Artisans from Agra

·         1 No. of Gas Stove to Stone Artisan from Agra

·         5 Nos. Table Fans to Silver Jewellery Artisans from Jaipur

·         20 Nos. Small ceiling fans to Silver Jewellery Artisans from Jaipur

·         50 Nos. Lunch Box to Silver Jewellery Artisans from Jaipur

·         1 No. Exhaust fan to Lac artisan from Jaipur

·         1 No. Ceiling fan to blue pottery artisan from Jaipur

·         10 Nos. Lunch Box to paper products Artisans from Mumbai

·         Workshop renovation of Semi-precious stone artisans from Mumbai

·         40 Nos. Lunch Box to Artisans from Saharanpur

·         10 Nos. Ceiling fans to Artisans from Saharanpur

·         10 Nos. Fry Pans to Artisans from Saharanpur

·         15 Nos. Lunch Box to Artisans from Sarai Tarin

·         5 Nos. Ceiling fans to Artisans from Sarai Tarin

·         5 Nos. Fry Pans to Artisans from Sarai Tarin


Producer Development

  • Satish Kumar Dhiman of Subham Wood works was provided a grant to purchase a colour printer and to upgrade & adapt modern technology.
  • Satish Anand of Crafts & Craft Centre was provided with a soft loan of Rs. 3,00,000/- & Rs. 1,00,000 to Mukesh Khandelwal of Handicrafts House under the Assistance for Raw Material Supply (ARMS) project to purchase raw material so they can improve their control over the quality of products and delivery commitments.
  • Improved safety at workplace by providing exhaust fans, fire extinguishers, CFL bulbs, replenishing their first aid boxes to 25 primary producers.

 Fair Trade Activity


A Self-Assessment Report was submitted to WFTO as per schedule and accepted. Mr Ranvir Sisodia from Dharohar, a Fair Trade Organization in Gujarat was approved by WFTO as a peer auditor. The audit was carried out in the month of May by visiting the producers at different centers and checking on compliance with Fair Trade principles; Ranvir also visited Asha Office and had meetings with the management team in regards to Fair Trade. Ranvir has submitted the Report to WFTO and our next WFTO GS Audit has been scheduled for the year 2018. 

 Monitoring Fair Trade

Fair Trade documents such as item register and payment records, purchase records, Absence of Child in Production, artisan’s records are now maintained by the producers and checked by Asha Staff during his visits


Celebrated World Fair Trade Day - 14th May, 2016

This year on World Fair Trade Day, we promoted Fair Trade & its benefits through social media & through meetings organized for artisans we support.  The event "Join Hands for Fair Trade" was organized at Mumbai, Agra, Saharanpur, Bophal, Moradabad, & Jaipur.  At the  end  artisans formed a Human Chain & took a pledge to be Agents for Change,   A few slogans on Fair trade were raised to create awareness among the bystanders . In Agra & Bhopal, where the artisan / community members were  given saplings, to be planted in designated areas in & around the community. Altogether more than 300 artisans were participated in celebrating World Fair Trade Day & 75 trees were planted.

 Social/Welfare Activities:


Educational Assistance Program: 2016-17

Sr. No.


No of Producers

No. of artisans

No. Of. Children

Total Grant in Rs.






































Ancillary Social Health Activity (ASHA) – Medical Center

Asha Medical Health Centre was set up in Saharanpur to Provide Primary Health Services to Artisan's families and the community in general.  Since April’2016 the centre has provided medical consultation & assistance to 597 artisans, their families & members of the community. Checking of blood sugar and counselling to the 11 patients was additional activity of the centre.

30 Patients counseled about addictions lifestyle, women's rights, domestic violence, health and hygiene issues etc.

Case Study: Foziya regularly visits the project whenever she or any of her family is unwell, as well as for routine health checkups and is very satisfied with the medical care she has been provided. She says if she had to opt for treatment at the local hospital, which is outside the village limits of 3 to 4 kilometers, it would not only cost her much more, but she would waste half of her day. Foziya recalls the numerous times when she could not spare any money for a check-up, but Asha’s Medical project treated her & her children free of cost whenever they were in need.

The E-Academy : The project is involved with imparting education & training related to the use of various software like MS Office, Tally, Photoshop, etc. free of charge. The project is currently imparting education to 18 students, from which 6 are girls. Student attendance for classes is above 90% indicating the quality & acceptance of the education provided.

Case Study: Sonam Rajput is an ex- student of our E-Academy project. She had enrolled with us in April 2014 and has successfully completed courses in MS Office, Corel Draw & Adobe Photoshop.  Her father, a mason, who worked with marble, sadly passed away in 2015 forcing Sonam to look after her mother & herself. With the knowledge she had learned from E-Academy, Sonam was able to find a job in a private school as a computer teacher, but it didn’t pay enough to take care of their basic needs. She currently works with TEARS, as a computer teacher to the mentally challenged and earns just enough to take care of her mother & herself. She is grateful for the knowledge E-Academy has provided her, allowing her family to survive.

The Tuition Projects: The Tuition Project helps about 60 to 80 under-privileged children stay in school & complete their education. The children are in the age range of 3 to 14, with 70% to 80% of the classes being girls. With the aid & learning provided by the project about 30-40 children get admission in other schools. Many Muslim families are very poor with about 4 to 5 & sometimes even more with the number of children. They are often strict with what their daughters can & can’t do. As such, they do not allow them to attend regular school. These families are also unable to provide an education to their children due to financial limitations. However, the project offers free enrollment and Tuition Project teachers like Ms. Rafat Jahan and Ms. Sana Humera, are from the society and everyone knows them. This has facilitated the enrollment of many Muslim girls in the project, who have been able to get an education. The teachers teach different subjects to the children according to their age, class & overall progress, including subjects like English, Mathematics, Hindi and General Knowledge. The project also makes sure they have fun while learning with different games twice a week. Parent teacher meetings are also held once in two months to give a progress report to the parents about their child’s performance and growth. This project has been very helpful to many families and the community wants this project to continue as long as possible.

Case Study: Imama is the daughter of Shaista Parveen, an artisan working with our producer Sana Handicrafts. Imama has been a student of our tuition project since the last four years. She currently studies in a government school, in the 4th grade. Imama’s family is very poor. Her father is ill & is bedridden. This forces her mother to work. Shaista makes necklaces & bracelets for Sana Handicrafts which is the only source of income for the family. Shaista hopes to educate her children so they do not have to face similar difficulties. Imama & Shaista are very grateful for Asha Handicrafts initiative to provide a better education to the underprivileged.

The  Campaign


Fair Trade against poverty! This year WFTO observes Global Anti-Poverty Week by promoting the 10 Principles of Fair Trade as means to eradicate poverty as desired by the first goal of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals – NO POVERTY 

WFTO believes that the principles of Fair Trade are effective overarching tools to fight poverty. 

 Using the concept of ‘Agent for Change’ (Fair Trade as an agent for change), WFTO’s formula to eradicate poverty:  Fair Trade + Economic Opportunities = No Poverty

 For the campaign, we use the icons of Fair Trade Principle 1 and SDG goal 1 to represent visually our formula of change. See visual illustration below. 

 By creating economic opportunities for produces, especially the small and marginalised farmers and artisans, WFTO and its members believes poverty can be eradicated.



WFTO started the global observance of Anti-Poverty Week in 2015 to showcase the tangible contributions of Fair Trade in ending poverty through its members and their successes working with producers. This will be an annual tradition of WFTO to demonstrate Fair Trade as an Agent for Change, and an occasion for members to promote their work on alleviating poverty. 


The imbalances of power in supply chains and the injustices of conventional trade leave many producers marginalised and unable to work their way out of poverty. WFTO and its members believe that trade should work for people and the environment, and not at their expense. The 10 Principles of Fair Trade are the fundamental philosophies established by WFTO and prescribed to members as means of fighting against trade injustices, discrimination, and poverty!  

Asha’s Birthday Celebration

On the 29th of July 2016, we celebrated the 41st Birthday of our company. This day also marked the retirement of our dear, long-time colleague, Balkrishna Bhalerao, lovingly called Ballu.

As with any Birthday, our celebration began with cake. This was followed up by the dispersal of Service Awards to employees who have been working with us for an extended period of time. Service Awards were given to Ms. Carmaline Raj for 40 years, Mr. Motiram Aihre for 30 years and Mr. Joaquim Barretto for 15 years of service. An award was also given to Ballu as a thank you for his 24 years of loyal service & support.

Our CEO then addressed the staff on the importance of working together as a family & stressed on how we need each other’s support to move forward. The morning celebration was ended with a prayer & thanks to God, before we left for a hearty lunch, organized at a nearby restaurant.

I look behind me every day while walking, wondering about several things. I can see a beautiful but an old TREE, giving shades to others. It is old by age but it still enjoys looking at its blooming fruits & flowers which makes it unbelievable that the tree has been there for 60 years. Yes ! This is my energetic father who has now turned 60 & retired from his office duties and today I feel proud to introduce myself, Mr.Yogesh Balkrishna Bhalerao, the luckiest son in this world carrying his name ‘BALKRISHNA’.

 For 24 continuous years he has been working tirelessly & continuously with ASHA HANDICRAFTS ASSOCIATION. ‘ASHA – A beam of hope’ fuelled my dad with great hopes & ambitions in his life whether it can be house, children’s education. I believe in the science that “Energy transfers from one object to another “& this energy indirectly transferred from my dad to among our family members. This is why we could achieve our goals & ultimately his dreams too. ‘Asha handicraft family’ stood firm beside us in crucial times. After beating such a hard time I realised that someone somewhere exist who look after us. Asha family’s prayer for us really worked and it leads to rise a beam of hope again within us.

Asha House celebrated its 40th anniversary this year. It was a great honour to attending my dad’s farewell on this great day. With the great hope Bhalerao family wishes Asha house all the best to make its century.

Chains For Change

Asha Handicrafts  is a Guranteed Fair Trade Organisation in India. This year they marked the World Fair Trade Day by Joining Hands for Fair Trade. The events were organized at their production centres Agra,Bophal,Jaipur,Moradabad, Saharanpur and in their office at Mumbai. .


Programs across our centres began with a talk by Asha Field staff on Fair Trade values, its benefits, explaining how Fair Trade can bring changes. At the end of the talk, artisans formed a Human Chains and took pledges to be Agents of Change, by protecting the environment and strengthening Fair Trade movement. Slogans on Fair trade were raised to create more awareness among general public.

In Agra and Bhopal, the artisans / community members were given 75 saplings that were planted in select areas in their communities. In all more than 350 artisans and Asha staff  Joined Hands and celebrated the World Fair Trade Day

Mumbai Marathon 2016

On 17th of January’16  two athletes, Mr. Laxman Malusare & Mr. Vittal Kamble ran in Standard Chartered Mumbai Marathon 2016 and completed a half marathon successfully. During this event they advocate about Trade Fair in Mumbai. This is the Sixth year where they associated with Fair Trade as brand ambassadors. Along with Athletes, 50 Asha staff also ran dream run for 6 km promoting Fair Trade. Vittal Kamble has painted his head with the logos of Fair Trade Shop Brand India, ASHA & KARIGAR the Fair Trade shop in Mumbai.

Fair Trade has made a difference in the lives of artisans in different parts of India, providing them with regular work, Fair wages and improved working conditions. It has also sponsored projects to provide medical services, educational assistance. It has built capacity in the producers at grass root level through regular business counseling to enable them to conduct their business in a sustainable manner.