Located in Andheri East, a suburb of bustling Mumbai lies, Creative Handicraft’s main facility. It is the head office, sewing facility, and cooking facility - so it smells delicious all day. Known for their ethical standards, and intricate sewing skills, Creative Handicrafts has been creating small goods since 1984, growing into an independent organization in 1994, and registering with the fair trade network in 2005.
Creative Handicrafts works mainly with women from the nearby slums, many of whom are victims of poverty and domestic violence. These women go through a paid training program to learn textile based skills such as sewing, embroidery, and finishings. Once completed they begin working full-time for the organization.
Creative Handicrafts understands the challenges of working largely with uneducated women, and how illiteracy can affect a woman's growth within the company. To combat this Creative Handicrafts now offers a dabba service (boxed lunch), giving the women an opportunity for employment in their kitchens.
Like any modern day entrepreneur we searched far and wide on the internet. Tracking down inspiring brands and manufacturers around the world. After some long emails and skype call attempts we hopped on a plane and made our way to Mumbai! Falling in love with Creative Handicrafts and bustling Mumbai it was a done deal.
In the office sits a mixture of designers and social workers, supporting the producers and their families all while working on collections for their own retail outlets and the international buyers; like us :)
The Balwadi Project offers pre-school education to children aged 3-6. Currently nine Balwadis are functioning in the slums.They were initiated after noticing the lack of enrollment and prominence of malnutrition among the children in the slums and tribal colonies in and around Andheri.
Balvikas Kendra, a community center for children in the slums allows children a safe place to rest and study while there parents are at work. For Rs.10 ($0.19 CAD/ $0.15 USD) a month any child aged 3-16 in the slums can be enrolled in this program. They are provided with a breakfast and lunch, and a full-time teacher looks after their school work, ensuring all homework is completed. Helping combat drop-out rates. Crèche is available for all women who are working at Creative Handicrafts. Crèche is a free daycare for their children that provides food, play and rest.
Because Creative Handicrafts loves their employees they want to make sure they are happy and healthy.
Arogyanidhi is a program they have that is a substitute to health insurance. The women of Creative Handicrafts can enroll themselves and their family in this program. They pay a fixed amount every month which Creative Handicrafts matches. They are then provided with a reimbursement of all medical expenses when the need arises.