In addition to the flagship programme Ambedkar Hastashilpi Vikas Yojana of the Ministry of Textiles to support handicraft artisans including those who do applique work, the National Centre for Design and Product Development (NCDPD) supports artisans in the area of design and product development and technology all over India. They conduct training programmes for artisans on national and international marketing, setting up an export business, trade show participation and packaging and improving tools and equipment.
National Centre for Design and Product Development
The Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Scale Enterprises also supports applique artisans through various schemes including the Design Clinic Scheme (DCS) in collaboration with the National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad. The programme exposes beneficiaries to the process, operation, manufacturing and business aspects of design so that they will be able to add value to their products in a cost-effective manner. With respect to applique artisans in particular, the DCS is helping them develop new patterns and ranges of products by educating them on ways to collaborate with retail stores and also suggesting strategies for marketing.
Design Clinic Scheme for Artisans
The significant NGO organisations working with applique artisans include the Orissa Rural and Urban Producers' Association (ORUPA) that was first established as a marketing federation for artisans. Currently working with 5,500 artisan families of 40 different crafts all over Odisha (name changed from Orissa to Odisha in 2011) including applique, modern applique, bamboo craft and wood carving. The organisation conducts technical skill development and managerial skill development programs for the artisans. Improving technical skills to suit customers’ tastes, updating entrepreneurial skills, keeping track of accounts and managing materials are some of the aspects that these programmes focus on. Additionally, ORUPA also undertakes construction of work sheds and houses for its artisans during the natural disasters that Odisha (Orissa) is prone to.
Another one is Sadhna, previously Seva Mandir, of Udaipur, Rajasthan that has taught applique embroidery to women living in the rural, tribal and urban slum areas to help them become financially independent.
Women of Sadhna creating applique designs
Both of these organisations, and several others, are members of eminent bodies promoting fair trade, such as the Fair Trade Forum-India, which is a member of the World Free Trade Organization (WFTO). The products of these NGOs and many others are sold at Fair Trade India branded shops i.e. shops for which a common identity is given for selling fairly produced products in India.
Fair Trade Forum-India
Image: My Mela