|We have now been using Fair Trade Soapnuts for the last 6 years and can really recommend them. They are great because once they are finished with you can then put them into the compost and they are safe to use in our grey water system. We also like the fact that when we use this product we are supporting families from Tamil Nadu and improving their opportunities as well as helping the planet.. Here is more information about these producers.|
Asha Handicrafts, (Asha means "hope" in Sanskrit), was established in 1975 by a group of Christian businessmen, and today is successfully marketing handcrafts for over 50 family workshops around India, representing 1500 artisans, irrespective of caste or creed. Asha Handicrafts provides the security of markets to small scale artisan workshops like ANSA, the soapnut harvesters in Tamil Nadu.
On top of benefits such as advances to purchase raw materials and interest-free loans, Asha welfare workers provide the artisans' families with medical care and educational assistance, including scholarships for primary school children, school fees, uniforms and books.
ANSA aims at integrated development of the marginalized and oppressed sections of the society by targeting areas of economic development, health care needs and environmental protection. The people ANSA work with are mostly scheduled castes who are socially marginalized.
On the social side they seek to involve women's groups in most of their activities, empowering them economically and socially by providing them with adequate training and education. They have several self-help groups of women who are involved in saving and micro-credit schemes and are given entrepreneurship training to grow their own group businesses. All the group members have been trained to take care of primary health needs of their family by using herbal systems. They have also been encouraged to develop herbal gardens in their own backyards (Source).