In a unique attempt to revive traditional art and craft forms of India, Happy Hands Foundation (HHF), a non-profit organisation, recently launched an online store selling products made by artisans and craftsmen across India. You can choose from jewellery, stationary, home décor, games and toys made by 600 artisan families in Orissa, Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka.
According to 25-year-old Medhavi Gandhi, director, HHF, their aim is to remove middlemen and ensure profits for artisans. “Craftsmen sell products to middlemen, who give them a fixed income. So, they are satisfied as they are making a lot and selling a lot. However, there is a need to make innovative products, as there is no market for traditional items, and remove middlemen and their expenses,” says Gandhi, who founded the organisation in 2009 while doing an MBA at Symbiosis International University, Pune.
The NGO came into focus internationally, when one of the potters, Om Prakash, 27, entered the Limca Book of Records for making the tallest terracotta coke bottle last year. At the online store, each artisan has a shop showcasing his products. “We work with artisans to develop the product. They are taught about the market, product pricing and new designs,” says Gandhi. Anyone can place an order, and get the product delivered across India.
Gandhi and her team also organise workshops for children, where they learn these intricate art forms. “When they do it themselves, people realise how painstaking it is and value it,” says Gandhi. Moreover, the foundation also gives education-based grants to the artisans’ children, so they can adapt modern technology and marketing angles to the family craft.
. in to buy the products.