Santa Fe International Folk Art Market

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April 27, 2010
Securing a Livelihood for Artisans in India

Kakuben Jivan Ranmal, an embroidery artist from the town of Patan, India, will be making her first appearance at the Market this year.

Together with two other embroidery artisans from India, she will be representing the group known as SEWA Trade Facilitation Center (STFC) – an arm of SEWA – the Self Employed Women’s Association.

The Center was formed in 2003 by more than 15,000 women artisans from the desert region of Gujarat, in western India.  STFC aims to empower poor women financially, helping them to create livelihoods for themselves and their families by selling their traditional embroidery.

The vision of STFC is to ensure that craftswomen in the informal sector have socio-economic security and full employment, by building a grassroots’ business enterprise of the artisans.

Before joining the STFC, Ms. Ranmal had been forced to leave her nine-month-old child with relatives while she searched for low-paying, menial jobs far from home. Now she and the other artisans of the STFC work from their homes and are shareholders (not just suppliers) in the organization.

Currently STFC has 3500 artisan shareholders in 80 villages across 3 Districts in Gujarat.

Reema Nanavaty, Director of Economic and Rural Development for SEWA says,

“It is indeed a great opportunity and an honour to be a part of the International Folk Market 2010. As the world at large is confronting two major crises (1) the economic crises and (2) the climate crises, the International Folk Market and SEWA Trade Facilitation Centre are exploring ways to access newer markets, yet preserving the rich cultural heritage, the traditional skills, and the local environment.”

You can learn more about SEWA here: http://sewa.org/ .  Meet Kakuben and see the work of the many artist of the Self Employed Women’s Association at the Market in July

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The Santa Fe International Folk Art Market, a non-profit organization, produces the largest international folk art market in the world, and our success led to Santa Fe’s designation as a UNESCO City of Folk Art.