About Us

Asha Handicrafts, a Fair Trade Organization, are helping to spread the concepts and benefits of Fair Trading in India and abroad. Asha means "HOPE" in Sanskrit. Thousands of artisans and producer groups depend on Asha Handicrafts for assistance throughout India. Asha Handicrafts Association is a society formed with the objective of preserving crafts of India through marketing them abroad and providing training in craft development. To apply the surplus generated from the business to fulfill the objective of the association and engage in acts of charitable nature.

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Feature Products

08CPX7001 Handmade Paper Box

01AB2X005 Back Massager

01SMX7003 Sheesham wood Recipe book holder

12PWX7024 Mango wood Chest 6 drawers

Latest Product

01SHX7004 Sesham wood Spoon and Fork set

12ATX7028 Recycled Nativity Hanging

08CPX7001 Handmade Paper Box

01SMX7003 Sheesham wood Recipe book holder

Our Events

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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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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25th May 2018

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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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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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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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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Our Artisans


AMAR BAGH  He is 30 years old and enjoys his work with one of our producer groups. Amar was originally from a small village called Balai Nager in the Nodiya district of West Bengal where he was born & brought up along with his 4 sisters and 7 brothers. He initially had the opportunity to study and has studied till the 7th standard. He belonged to a poor family where his eldest brother was the one who earned & provided for the family. When his brother fell sick & wasn’t able to work anymore, Amar was forced to leave school and not study any further.

Things got more difficult as he & his siblings grew older. One of his brothers ran away from home & fled to Jaipur never to be heard of again. His eldest brother fell sick again and this time, sadly, he did not recover. Amar still misses him, even today. As with all things, Amar’s dark days came to an end. Today, all of his siblings are happily married and have different jobs. Amar has been living in Jaipur for the last 6 years since he found work with Asha Handicrafts. His employment with us has literally changed his life. At the producer group, he learnt the craft of making beautiful silver handicrafts and he did it in 6 months. So impressive are his skills that he has started his own production unit, where he teaches artisans to make different jewelry. He hopes his unit continues to flourish and that more artisans come to work with him.

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MUNNI Works with a producer group at Saharanpur. Munni was born in to a poor family in Roorkee, a city in the Haridwar district of Uttarakhand. Needless to say, her childhood was not easy. Her father was a daily wage worker and couldn’t afford sufficient food for his family, let alone afford to send Munni to school.

She finally got married, moved to her husband’s home at Saharanpur and had 4 children. She thought that the difficult days were behind her, but sadly, in a span of a few years, the poverty & hardship she left behind, had once again found her & her family.  Her husband also made a living as a  daily wage worker & couldn’t find work like before. Their future looked dire, but Munni decided not to give up & do her best to support her family.

She was fortunate to get a job with one of the local handicraft manufacturers & learnt how to polish wood. She was thankful for the new income, but still couldn’t support her family. When she heard of Asha Handicrafts & the benefits we offered our artisans, Munni knew she had to at least try to get a job with us. Recognising the quality of her work, our producer group, immediately offered Munni a job, which she graciously accepted.

She has been working with our producer group for the last 10 years as a wood polisher, specialising in antique / vintage finishing. Munni couldn’t be happier now that she can easily take care of her family’s needs!

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CHOTELAL SHARMA  A Father, a Friend, a Master Craftsman,an Artist.

Your delicate & beautiful stone work, your legacy in the city of Agra will carry on through your son.

The world will surely miss your presence.

We at Asha Handicrafts will mourn your loss, but will never forget you.

Our thoughts& prayers go out to the Sharma family.

On the death of a friend, we should consider that the fates through confidence have devolved on us the task of a double living, that we have henceforth to fulfil the promise of our friend's life also, in our own, to the world.

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RITA MAOURYA Works at one of Asha Handicrafts’ producer groups at Mumbai. She has been working with this group for a long time. In fact, neither she nor the group owner can remember exactly when the Rita became a part of their“family”, but pegs it at a minimum of 6 years. She has always just been there and will continue to be there.

Rita was born & bought up in Mumbai, which when compared to other cities in India, is one of the more expensive cities to live in. Things being as they were, her father ensured that she could study at least up to junior college. By this time it was getting difficult to manage their household and her parents began looking for a suitable match for Rita. Soon Rita was married to her husband Pradeep, who was a Tailor Cutting Master working with this producer group. During the span of a few years, they had a daughter and a son and were as happy as could be. When their daughter began school it became difficult to make ends meet with only her husband’s salary. Fortunately for them Rita was excellent with a sewing machine &our producer group was hiring.

Rita now does various types of stitching for the various garments, scarfs, etc. with the precision & accuracy of a seasoned professional tailor. She is proud that she can contribute to her family’s income and send her children to school. Her children are now studying in the 5th and the 1st standard. She is a proud mother & is grateful to Asha Handicrafts for her job, her children’s education and hopes to get good orders in the future.

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SUSHILA YADAV Was born and brought up in Mumbai. She used to be a sweet homemaker, taking care of her small family. This all changed when her husband, one day, just packed up and left her & their children. After her husband deserted her, she took up odd jobs, which she could do herself, to feed her children.

In 2007, Sushila was at her wits end trying to keep her family & home afloat. She was ready to give up when she heard of a job at one of Asha Handicrafts’ producer groups at Mumbai. When she met the group in-charge, she knew that finally her troubles were over and immediately started working with him. Since Sushila had completed her high school and was quite knowledgeable, she was given the additional responsibility of maintaining records of production and raw material along with her regular crafting work.

Sushila is employed as a full time employee and is paid a salary which enables her to take care of her dependent parents as well as her children. Sushila was also fortunate to be included in a government scheme for subsidized housing, which made her eligible for a housing loan. She also didn’t have to worry anymore about her children’s education. Her older daughters are studying in municipal schools and with support from Asha Handicrafts. Sushila has now enrolled her youngest daughter in an English medium school which has made her very happy.

In her own heartfelt words, Sushila expressed how thankful she was for the support she received. “Only with the support and encouragement I received from Mr. Ram Prasad & the good orders we receive from Asha, I was able to pay for my house which is otherwise nearly impossible for women like me, who are living without a husband. I am thankful that good people still exist in the world

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LALJI JANGID Rajasthan, in India, is famous for its distinct culture, art forms, and handicrafts. It is here, in Jodhpur city, that Lalji Jangid’s Jangid Handicrafts is based. Lalji Jangid has been a part of this trade for over twenty five years now.

Lalji’s father migrated to India from Pakisthan in search of livelihood Lalji was born in India. He had to struggle in the initial days and could not pursue his schooling since his father had to move from place to place where the work was found. 

He specializes in the making of handicrafts that are generally bought for home décor such as mango wood cabinets with different finished and ornamented with brass, iron, and aluminum. Lalji learnt his craft from his father; however, as his father’s work was mostly traditional, Lalji had to improvise. Although the items he makes are decorative, Lalji explains that many of them are also utilitarian; he makes candle stands, photo frames, and boxes. His workshop employs just three artisans and he hires more based on orders.

When Lalji had started off he faced a number of problems. He got very few orders and struggled to find new markets. He used to supply to film studios of in Mumbai small furnitures used for film sets. On one such trip stumbled across a sign board that read Asha Handicrafts. He spoke to the security staff and only came back the next day after he was sufficiently prepared.

He found working with Asha very different: “We (the suppliers) are patients and Asha is our doctor.” He feels he is treated very differently; other buyers simply ignore the difficulties faced by artisans. As an artisan, he feels that it was hard for him to negotiate with such buyers.       

Lalji has started to implement Fair Trade practices and feels that with increased capacity he will be able to pass on benefits to his artisans. In the last two years, Lalji has seen his business volume with Asha increase. Now, he can concentrate on settling down and starting a family. With a market assured, he can focus on the quality of his wares.

Lalji has benefitted from capacity building programs conducted by Asha Handicrafts where he learned about quality control and product development.



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SUMAN Warli are an aboriginal people residing mainly in the western part of India; Warlis decorate their dwellings and surroundings with their distinctive style of paintings.

Suman Sonthalia of Akruti Arts Creations is a designer who has combined various folk art forms, such as, Warli and Dokra, with wood and pottery to create popular products. Suman started with just two artisans and a dream. In 2006 she began to work with Asha Handicrafts and her turn over reached USD 10,000.

Today , Suman supports 30 artisans of whom 4 are on salary while the others work on piece rates. She also employs 15 girls of whom 5 work from their home. As the work continued Suman adopted other styles and crafts such as Madhubhani paintings and Kalamkari in addition to her trademark Warli style. This has lead to a seven fold increase of Suman’s business with Asha Handicrafts in just a span of four years.

Besides getting regular work she is also happy with Asha Handicrafts for other benefits which she received through Fair trade such as training through workshops, product development, business counseling and advance payment against all the orders.

Suman has good entrepreneur skills which have helped her to not only develop products that are decorative but also utilitarian and serving the needs of the consumers. Her goal is to keep these crafts alive through constant innovation and employing crafts in creating utility items.

Through Asha handicrafts, Suman has not only been empowered for fair trade and business entrepreneurship but also seeks to follow example of Asha Handicrafts in supporting socially and economically underprivileged women, by giving them work, advance payments and educational assistance for her artisan’s children.


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FARZANA KHATTON Has been working with Asha Handicrafts’ producer group at Delhi since 2006. In 1999, when Farzana came to Delhi to visit a relative, from her home town Safipur in Uttar Pradesh, little did she know that she would meet her future husband whom she promptly married & with whom she has 2 daughters. Farzana was as happy as could be. But dark times were lurking just around the corner for her. A few years after the birth of her second daughter, Farzana lost her husband & was all alone with her 2 daughters. It was difficult for Farzana to take care of her family’s needs. She soon began searching for work. In her search, someone asked her to seek our Asha Handicrafts’ producer group. Seeing her desperation, she was offered a job at the group. Because her daughters were too young to be left alone at home, she was given the opportunity to make jewellery at home.

As her daughters grew up, she was able to take on more responsibility & soon was made a supervisor of the women artisans. Things were better for Farzana, but it was still difficult to provide a good education to her daughters.

In 2011-12 Farzana met our welfare worker, on one of his regular visits to the producer group’s workshop. Our welfare worker soon heard about Farzana’s plight & how she recognized the importance of a good education for her daughters. This led to education assistance from Asha Handicrafts, for her daughters. She is now happy knowing that her family’s future is secure and is extremely grateful for all the help she has received.

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