08th Mar 2019

Womens Day 2019

Womens Day 2019 - WFTO Event

08 March 2019

There are so many reasons to celebrate gender equality on Women’s Day, 8 March 2018!  One good reason is that more and more women in Fair Trade are taking leadership roles in their organisations. A recent study of 110 WFTO members revealed that 51% of board positions are held by women, 52% of CEOs are women and 54% of top management roles are held by women.  Visit our Women's Day page for stories and videos of women in Fair Trade who are leading the way to gender equality. 

Carmaline Raj

Our purchase manager, has been working with Asha Handicrafts Association for nearly 43 years, something that she is proud of. Carmaline has been influential in contributing to Asha’s success and unique work culture. Carmaline firmly believes that the core of Asha’s culture is taking ownership of the task assigned. Carmaline has grown in Asha from a young fresh mind to a seasoned manager of the purchase department. She has overcome challenges she has faced by asking the right questions and going in depth to understand & overcome the problem. For Carmaline, success is understanding what her buyers want and doing her best to give it to them.

Carmaline is a working mother and also makes time for her family. The key, she says, is making time for both work & home while focusing on what’s in front of you. Carmaline’s advice to young women is to do what you love & do it well. Be focused and take ownership of your work. But most importantly, make a commitment to God, to do your job with all your heart. 

Carmaline prays that Asha’s mission & good work continues to succeed and dreams of a day when all artisans will have access to Fair Trade.

Mariamma Mathew

Lovingly known as Usha to our staff, is responsible for managing all the documentation required to ship our artisan’s handicrafts to our buyers. Usha has given 35 years in service of Asha’s mission and is proud to have positively impacted so many artisans. Usha attributes her long tenure to Asha’s unique “family” work culture. According to Usha, the practice of entrusting staff to do their job independently and without unnecessary pressure is what makes Asha a great place to work. As the manager of export documentation logistics & freight, Usha deals with a lot of government officials to get the required authorizations for Asha Handicrafts Association’s shipments. Her solution to get these authorizations on time is persistent, yet polite, follow ups with concerned people. She is overjoyed every time she can get Asha exporters’ incentives from the Indian government.

Usha loves to stay up to date on current affairs and enjoys watching news and debates on TV. Her day is not complete till she reads the daily newspaper. Her work with Asha has enabled her to lead a good life and is the reason why she could have her own home. Her “secret to success” for young women is to work honestly with a calm mind.

Usha has seen most of her dreams come true at Asha and hopes Asha continues to help more & more artisans achieve their dreams. After 35 years of faithful service, Usha now looks forward to a quite relaxing retirement.

Patricia Lewis

Asha Handicrafts Associations’ Finance Manager. Patricia has been working with Asha for over 16 years and has experienced & achieved a lot during her tenure. According to Patricia, her long tenure is simply because she loves coming to work. The positive and welcoming atmosphere at Asha makes it the best place to work for her. Patricia recalls how happy & empowered she felt when she was given the responsibility of the Finance department. It was an opportunity to prove herself that she would not let pass.

Being the forward thinking woman she is today Patricia always has her eye on Asha’s future business and stays abreast of the dynamic financial situations our clients and suppliers face. She believes working together as a team and improving co-operation would help Asha, our suppliers and our buyers achieve better results. Patricia’s counsel to young women would be to develop a habit of learning and take complete responsibility of the task at hand.

Patricia enjoys a balanced life through efficient time management, making time for her work life & her personal life. When she is not working with financial figures and data, Patricia enjoys listening to slow Hindi music. Patricia has worked hard for her family and dreams of one day seeing her children pursue and achieve their own dreams.

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30th Jan 2019

workshop on Linking Handicrafts with Tourism

Our CEO Mr Rajesh Kumar was invited to speak and share his experience at a 2 day workshop on “Linking Handicrafts with Tourism; Challenges and Opportunities for Marketing Handicrafts to Boost Local Economic Development”, organized by the Development Commissioner (Handicrafts) (DCH), Ministry of Textiles, Government of India, New Delhi at Amity University’s campus, Noida. He used this opportunity to share Asha’s mission of uplifting Indian Artisans and to share information on the rich heritage of India’s handicrafts. His presentation also highlighted the salient features of Fair Trade and how businesses can thrive, while still being fair & transparent with its stakeholders. He went into detail how Fair Traded handicrafts create sustainable employment for Indian artisans, helping them to work with dignity & pride, as well as empowering Indian women to start small businesses selling the handicrafts they create.

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01st Jan 1970

Mumbai Marathon 2019

Asha Handicrafts Association has been participating in the Mumbai Marathon since its inception. Through this platform, Asha Handicrafts association has been able to better spread the message of Fair Trade. 

This year, 23 staff from Asha Handicrafts Association participated in the Dream Run. The Dream Run is a non-timed run, meant to promote social cause. As such, many organizations participate in the Dream Run to promote their organizations message. Promoting Fair Trade in the presence of many bigger & more visible organizations appeared to be a daunting task for our runners. Our runners, however, made their presence felt with bright placards depicting Fair Trade held high and shouting chants for Fair Trade. The voice of Fair Trade was definitely heard at the marathon.

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25th Sep 2018


Asha in Hindi means "Hope", an appropriate word to reflect our mission. Asha was born out of hope and prayer in 1975 and started its marketing operation to bring hope to craft workshops and family groups all over India by choosing the best of their products to sell to markets in the west. The Late Mrs. Iscah Andrews was the driving force behind the formation of Asha Handicrafts Association. She had a dream that Indian handicrafts could be used to bring self-help and respect to artisan communities, but it wasn't until she met George Hoffman of TearFund that she was able to realize it. George Hoffman was a businessman who had been looking at the same problem from the outside, seeing third world handicrafts as a means of freeing local communities from the burdens of poverty; ignorance and exploitation of middle-men. They recognized that modern marketing methods could bring these products to the West, where they would realize a fair price. Asha adopted this model from TearFund and thus began its operations. Mrs Andrews served Asha for 10 years up to 1985, leaving the reigns in the capable hands of Late Mr Nemani David Livingston, Business Director. 

On 22nd November 1987, Mr. Livingston appointed Mr. Lucas Caldeira as a Business Development Manager at Asha. With his marketing experience, extensive travel, product development and various business strategies Asha's business began to grow. In 1995, Mr. Lucas Caldeira ventured into Fair Trade and Asha become a member of IFAT (now WFTO) at the conference held in USA. This membership opened up new relationships with many buyers. During the same year, Mr. Lucas Caldeira took on the responsibility of guiding Asha as its new CEO and began planning Asha’s future in a fresh way. With the growing popularity of Fair Trade, Asha raised the bar for itself and was Certified Guaranteed Fair Trade member in 2013.

Asha’s mission to Preserve, Protect & Promote Indian Handicrafts & the Indian Handicraft industry is supported by Fair Trade & vice versa. As of today, Asha works with artisans from all over India who produce area specific handicrafts.

Our Welfare Workers, at key craft centres, work for Artisan Welfare & Community development as their primary role, while also working as Asha’s Business Representatives to our producers. They regularly visit the producer’s workshops to monitor their compliance with the 10 Principles of Fair Trade and to follow up on current orders, as well as, new product developments. Adhering to the 10 Principles of Fair Trade have helped our producers and artisans grow sustainably, have greatly improved their standard of living and have spread happiness in their communities. This life changing impact is why we at Asha support Fair Trade.

In these lines, the WFTO has begun the process of establishing a Fair Trade Charter, which will be formally launched on the 25th of September’18. As of now, over 40 fair trade organizations from all over the world have recognized this charter. Asha Handicrafts Association is proud to be among these organizations and recognize the Fair Trade Charter.

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25th May 2018

17th Jul 2018

Greetings to you from Asha !

Greetings to you from ‘Asha’!


Today as we celebrate 43 years of God’s faithfulness, I thank God for adding yet another year to ‘Asha Handicrafts Association.’ It is a time to express my gratitude to you for sharing our belief and being an integral part of our journey so far. 

I am filled with hope, joy and optimism as we go ahead as an organization fulfilling our mission to diffuse the love of God in word and deed to all. 

I pray that God’s richest blessing will be with us and all those who have helped us grow and see this beautiful day. May the work that we do and the way that we do it, bring hope, love and encouragement to all those we serve. 

Again, I thank you for joining ‘Asha Handicrafts’ and for your continuous generous support .Our association means a lot to us, and as we venture into another year, I am confident  that he who began a good work in us will carry it on to completion.

With Best Wishes

Rajesh Kumar
Chief Executive Officer


Few messages from our long serving colleagues


“First of all, I would like to thank my God for his hand upon Asha as an organization. It is through God’s leading, that we as an organization has sustained thus far. Thank God for l=placing each of us here as a family, so that God’s name be glorified. We would like to thank God for our Board Members, our CEO, Mr Rajesh Kumar for his leading, we as staff, our buyers & suppliers. Asha as an organization has been a blessing to many. We pray that God’s leading be present throughout Asha’s journey till the end.”

- Carmaline Raj, Manager - Purchases

(42 years with Asha)


“Wishing Asha Handicraft on achieving much in the 43 years of its existence. May Asha continue to spread the love of Christ to all we come in contact with, in both word & deed.”

- Paul Raj, Manager - Logistics

(36 years with Asha)


“May the Lord continue His Blessing on Asha as he has been doing right from the time of its inception. May He continue to remind us of the Vision & Mission and help us follow what we have promised. Wishing my dear company, which has been like my second home, a very Happy Birthday and many prosperous years ahead.”

- Leo D’Souza, Manager - Exports

(28 years with Asha)


“Wishing Asha Handicrafts Association a Happy 43rd Birthday, You (Asha) have been a true example of the love of God for many of your stakeholders, the work you do speaks of the difference you make to so many lives of artisans in rural villages, durability, reliability and trust that’s what you are to your clients. It is indeed great to be a part of you, may the work that you do to bring change to a world in need continue forever.”

- Christopher Raphael, Manager IT & Inventory

  (25 years with Asha)

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12th May 2018

World Fair Trade Day 2018

"Live fair, one product at a time"

"Live fair, one product at a time’" was World Fair Trade Day 2018 theme and celebration message to the global consumers.

In the communities around our centres like Jaipur, Agra, Saharanpur & in Sambhal, Lectures were held on “Live Fair: Make a Difference” for the artisans & producers along with creating Human Chain and spreading the message of Fair Trade. Testimonies were shared by producers & artisans about the benefits of being a part of Fair Trade.  

For the artisan community’s children in Jaipur and Sambhal & for youth in Agra, Fair Trade Festival was organized with lots activities & fun.

At our office, Staff with “Live fair, one product at a time” placard photographs were clicked, also to spread Fair Trade awareness, Fair Trade Principles placards were put up at different corners of the office, these principals will be reminded staff about fair trade practises.

‚ÄčA short video of Mr. Rajesh Kumar, C. E. O. was taken & promoted through Asha’s Facebook page giving message on celebration of the World Fait Trade Day.

All these activities with photos were promoted through Asha Handicrafts as well WFTO's Facebook page. 


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