Thursday, December 13, 2012


Surekha Pednekar

MATUNGA-MUMBAI, DECEMBER 10, 2012 :  Don Bosco Development Society organized an exposure visit to “Creative Handicrafts” for the SHG leaders from the slum communities of Dharavi, Antop hill and Kurla. The visit was a great learning for these women as many of these were aspiring entrepreneurs looking for guidance in setting up of micro businesses.The visit was attended by twenty women and the staff of DBDS.

Creative Handicrafts is a social enterprise established in 1984 to empower disadvantaged women of the slum communities of Mumbai. Creative Handicrafts imparts training to the women to produce textile based handicrafts, soft toys and other utility items and market them in India and abroad. Over the years hundreds of women have benefited from the skill training provided by Creative Handicrafts.

Many of those who were trained are running their small businesses. There are others also who work for Creative Handicraft through their cooperatives and are paid for their work. Creative Handicraft is also a fair-trade organization and share its profits with it’s worker. There are about four hundred women workers who come from neighouring slum communities.

There is a Crèche for the children of ladies who work for Creative Handicraft.  After their visit to the centre the group was taken to their MIDC office where they pack, store and dispatch the finished goods. Creative Handicrafts earns 80% of its income from exports of its products to fair trade organizations in Spain, France, Italy, United States, etc. These organizations possess all the necessary status for imports. Today it exports both apparels and textile based handicrafts.

The SHG leaders interacted with the staff and workers and asked lot of questions on the raw material, production, quality control, packaging, marketing, selling etc. It was a good experience for them to see the entire chain of the business process. They learn the business discipline that is required for running such a business.

The visit ended with a meeting with Ms.Isabel Martin who is the founder and advisor of the organization. The SHG leaders took her blessing for running a successful business in future. Some of the SHG leaders were so inspired by their Crèche management that they started planning for establishing a Crèche. The visit created a tempo of thought process in the direction of becoming an micro entrepreneur.

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