Meet the Artisans of the Association for Craft Producers!
The Association for Craft Producers (ACP) is a not-for-profit fair trade organisation providing design, marketing, management, and technical services to low-income Nepalese craft producers. ACP is a resource to advance and globally distribute their work, for which they receive fair wages and generous benefits. Founded in 1984 with just 38 producers, five full-time staff members and three skill categories, ACP has grown to around 1000 artisans (90% female), 60 full-time staff members and 20 skill categories.
ACP is a certified Fair Trade Organization since 2003. Based on the 10 principles of Fair Trade prescribed by the World Fair Trade Organization (WFTO), ACP abides and upholds these in its daily and strategic work. In regular audits conducted by WFTO, ACP has proven throughout the years that it has implemented and upheld the principals. There are numerous programs ACP has created that benefit the producers and conserve the environment.
Indira has a similar story to that of many ACP producers. As a small girl, she was denied an education (unlike her brothers) and was instead forced to assist with household chores. At the age of 17, she moved from her home in Tehrathum in Eastern Nepal to Kathmandu to work as a carpet weaver. Within a year in the city, Indira was married to a Thanka painter, but his work was irregular and proved no return. Their earnings together were barely enough for rent. On the brink of destitution, her husband took out a loan and moved to Malaysia in search of better work. His efforts were unfruitful and anything he earned was used to pay back his loan.
Indira was left penniless and uncertain, with her daughter and two other family members financially dependent on her. Through a fellow weaver, she learned of ACP and soon joined our textile team. Weaving fabrics is much different than weaving carpets, but Indira quickly adapted to the differences and excelled at the craft. She began to earn significant compensation and has taken advantage of our producer benefits. ACP's "Girl Child Education" program has supported her daughter's schooling, and the "Saving Program" has helped her during times when her finances were strained.
Recently, her husband has returned from Malaysia with no intention of going back. He is looking for work in Nepal while Indira continues to receive assistance from ACP's earning and welfare programs. She is getting closer to realizing her dream of giving her daughter a complete education and owning a home in Kathmandu.