'Asha' means 'hope' in Hindi, and Asha Handicrafts, a pioneer of Fair Trade in India, promotes Indian handicrafts across the globe, offering hope to thousands of low-paid, disadvantaged or exploited artisans. It was founded in 1975 and is a member of WFTO (World Fair Trade Organisation). We have bought from Asha for over 25 years and love the work they do; we applaud them especially for the relief work they did during the Covid pandemic, supplying health aid and food suppliers to artisans and their families who were out of work.
Asha is based in Mumbai, but deals with a variety of producers across India. The products we buy include wood from Saharanpur – mostly mango, a fast-growing wood which involves a minimal carbon footprint in its sourcing and production; recycled textiles; our top-selling 'Easter Island' spectacle stands; jewellery; and papier mache from Kashmir. This is made from a mixture of paper pulp, flour and glue, soaked in water and then dried. Finally Asha’s artisans shape it and paint their stunning designs, a really difficult skill. Recycling waste paper into beautiful, exotic and colourful products is an amazing transformation which has to be seen to be believed.