If you have ever visited the website Ten Thousand Villages, I’m sure you’ve been as overwhelmed with the amazingly beautiful products they sell.
This last week, while looking for a few items to finish a home in Lagrangeville, I (once again) got sucked into their beautiful website. I started by looking at a rug and a few lampshades. After placing them in my shopping cart I headed over to the journal section (I have a habit of purchasing writing journals and portfolios whenever I am on this site).
After choosing a few too many, I noticed that most of them came from the same agency. Prokritee, which means Nature in Bengali.
They provide managerial, product design and development, and marketing assistance to handicraft organizations in Bangladesh and as boring as that sounds, it’s a necessity of they want to get their artisan goods out into the world; they manage several handicraft enterprises and helps other groups sell their products in local and foreign markets.
Prokritee and its enterprises provide jobs for poor rural women: widows, divorcees or heads–of–households, primarily rural, landless and with little or no income.
By providing jobs for women, Prokritee improves women’s standard of living and helps them send their children to school. The organization provides skills development training to artisans.
The design department of Prokritee is committed to developing marketable designs based on Bangladesh’s cultural heritage. Prokritee creates and promotes income–generating projects that benefit the artisans, adhere to good safety and environmental standards, and have the potential to become self–reliant.
Prokritee was established in 2001 as an independent organization. It grew out of the marketing operations of Mennonite Central Committee Bangladesh’s Job Creation Program, operating since 1975. Prokritee is committed to fair trade principles.
Ten Thousand Villages purchases handmade paper items, ceramics, palm leaf and paper ornaments, and jute, hemp, and coconut fiber items from Prokritee. Ten Thousand Villages has purchased products from Prokritee and its predecessor MCC Bangladesh since 1986.
- Fair trade clothing manufacturers aren’t in it for the money (business.financialpost.com)
- Bittersweet news from fair trade in Ontario (socialfinance.ca)