Mrs. Savitri is a weaver at the Physically Handicapped Training and Rehabilitation Centre in Sangli, Maharashtra suffers from leprosy but is learning to make scarves using wool for the first time.
Mr. Anbazhgan is a disabled wood-cutter, part of The Helen Keller wood carving group in Kalakurchi in Tamil Nadu, who is learning about the problems he could face with the use of an unfamiliar wood for an international client.
Mrs. Kankadurga works at Bethany Products, Bethany Leprosy Colony in Andhra Pradesh to create bed webbing that is used in the production of strong and beautiful bags.
Mr. Tarak Nath Roy of Susunia, West Bengal, is a gifted stone carver but disabled by polio.
The lives of these four artisans and several hundreds like them have been changed by an organization called MESH (Maximizing Employment to Serve the Handicapped). Earlier they were all being paid half of what their products were worth because of the presence of middle-men. But now, due to the efforts of a MESH, these artisans are able to market their wares directly and receive their due credit.
Mission and Activities:
MESH aims at providing opportunities for social and economic development to disabled and leprosy-affected people. It achieves this by acting as an intermediary between the disabled artisans and the market place. In effect they secure orders from national and international buyers, forward those orders to the skilled artisans, train and guide the artisans in fulfilling these orders, and promote fair wages among the artisans.
In addition to this, MESH helps the artisans by providing access to a host of design and product development ideas from its own Design Studio in order to keep them updated on the latest market trends. The organization helps add value to the artisans’ products by telling their stories. It also provides training in best business practices and helps the artisans secure 50% advance payment if required so that they can buy their raw materials without taking loans.
Products and Contact Information:
Their product catalogue includes shoulder bags, table mats, scarves, bedcovers, tablecloths, office stationery, toys, cards in a large variety of shapes, sizes, designs and materials to keep up with the latest trends and cater to various needs. All of these are available at their stores at the following locations in India:
5, Local Shopping Centre,
New Delhi 110 049
Tel. +91 11 26965039/26568048
Shop No. 8,
Tel. +91 9703879557
Besides this, MESH also has retail outlets in Britain, Germany, Sweden, USA and some other locations. Check their website for more details.
MESH has truly helped in filtering out the middle-men and enabled the handicapped artisans of India to earn their due.