We’re proud to feature products from many talented artisans across the globe. Here are a few of their stories.
Bir Bahadur Bishwakarma started producing copper crafts at the age of 9, carrying on the tradition of his Nepalese ancestors. After 25 years of working as a coppersmith, he was given the opportunity to train on metal sheets at the Balaju Mechanical Centre in Nepal, where he learned the skills to expand his trade. Now, at the age of 47, he and his brother employ 20 artisans, mostly coppersmiths who come from the low-income segment of the community. By creating these jobs, Bir Bahadur has been able to improve economic conditions for his whole community while, on a personal level, also paying for his son’s education and for his daughter’s wedding.
In the An Hoa Village Workshop of An Hoa, Vietnam, artisans like Nguyen Van Binh and Nguyen Thanh Dong make crafts out of bamboo. With the help of Bamboo54 and Worldstock, they are able to share their bamboo crafts with the world. Bamboo has long been considered a symbol of serenity and inspiration in Eastern cultures, and Buddha himself was believed to keep bamboo in his home for those reasons. Because it grows so quickly, bamboo is considered a renewable resource. When you purchase bamboo furniture and other bamboo products from Worldstock, you're not only supporting the people in the An Hoa Village Workshop, but you're also helping the planet.
In the northwestern desert of India, three artisan cooperatives make traditional arts by hand. When the area was devastated by an earthquake in 2001, these artisans needed help rebuilding their lives. Thankfully, Handmade Expressions could help. Handmade Expressions is a sourcing partner for socially and environmentally responsible products. Working with the artisans in India, they strive to improve the artisans’ economic conditions and social standing while also encouraging them to use recycled materials and natural fibers. Handmade Expressions goes the extra step to inform the artisans about global fashion and market trends, so these local artists are able to produce goods that are desirable and contemporary.
Life was very difficult for Ha from the southern Vietnamese province of Nam Dinh. He had an accident which left him paralyzed from the waist down, and he was worried about being a burden on his family. Fortunately, he was offered the opportunity to learn painting at the Take Wings Center, a vocational training center managed by the nonprofit organization Maison Chance (or House of Luck), which aims to help orphans, disadvantaged people and physically handicapped people. At the Take Wings Center, Ha not only learned how to paint, but he also gained self-respect and the energy to continue. Ha's hope is to be able to live off the sale of his paintings and become independent.
NISHTHA is an organization in Kolkata, India, which aims to aid and empower victims of abuse in rural West Bengal. Since 1975, NISHTHA has promoted dignity and education for women and children there. In addition to helping women understand their rights and encouraging them to fight injustice, NISHTHA also provides health, hygiene and nutrition information as well as market-based vocational training, leadership training and soft loans for the economic security of the women. Through NISHTHA, these women are able to sell their crafts on Worldstock.
Siriporn “Toy” Jeerang was born in 1968 in Ban Tung, a quiet village located in the Man Wen district of China. Her parents were poor farmers, and with nine brothers and sisters, there were many things her family could not afford. One of those things was school, and she was only able to go through grade six. She found work in a shop in a large tourist village, where she met her husband, a skilled wood carver. Together, they decided they could make the same items crafted in the shop. They set up their small workshop in 2003 in their home but now have expanded, employing nine people from their village. They spend their days making wood crafts with the purpose of earning a fair living.