Product of the day: [New in shop] Tara Projects (India) recycled glassware - assorted colours. Eric
What is Tara Projects?
Tara (Trade Alternative Reform Action) Projects has been working with craftspeople in the Delhi area since the 1970's, with the aim to alleviate poverty through fighting widespread exploitation in the handicraft industry. It now works with 25 community-based groups of artisans.
Tara members are involved in production and marketing (local and export) of handicrafts with the aim to improve the livelihood and eduction of the producers. Tara ensures its artisans are paid at least 15% above the normal wage, paying them up to 50% above standard wages when it can. The producers work within registered cooperative societies; other groups which are not yet registered but operate on just and fair lines, and/or small family workshops are also given some help.
Tara Projects focuses especially on stopping child exploitation, setting up schools and training parents in skills that will help them find a job, so that families will not need to send their children to work.
Tara Projects' products: The producer groups working with Tara produce a wide variety of products including soapstone boxes, brass candlesticks, boxes and statues and various iron products, such as bells. Making bells, originally to hang around the necks of their animals, is an ancient tribal craft art going back thousands of years in northern India.
The bells are fashioned from a mix of new and used iron, then sprinkled with glass powder and brass, covered with a pulp clay and jute and fired for 12 hours using coal and cow dung for fuel (the "rasai" process). After cooling in water the blackened clay is removed leaving a golden patina that ages beautifully, and imparts the sonorous musical quality of the bells.
Today, the fastest growing craft for Tara is fashion jewellery, developing a creative as well as economic industry for young women and men struggling to make a living in the urban sprawl of New Delhi.
Tara Projects is a member of the International Fair Trade Association (IFAT).