- The following list of country-by-country suggestions is a work in progress. Many of the artisans with whom we have connections are unable to obtain materials or ship orders while lock-downs and restrictions are in place. Others don’t have websites and many more don’t have mechanisms to take orders or receive payments. By providing the list below, we hope to support at least some artisans and their families until tourism can resume.
- Please also note that shipping and the delivery of orders may be delayed until services return to normal.
- retreat|recreate does not receive commission or kick-backs from any of these organisations or artisans
- See below for opportunities to support artisans in India, Indonesia, Laos, Morocco, Turkey and Vietnam and perhaps stock up on gifts (for yourself or others) for the year ahead.
Huge thanks in advance for any support you’re able to provide during this challenging time and until tourism can resume. Happy shopping!
ASIA – Various destinations
Give2Asia: This umbrella organisation provides links to trusted non-profit organisations accepting donations in Asia. Using the filter on the left-hand-side you can select which cause (disaster, women and girls, arts and culture etc) and location (India, Thailand, Indonesia etc) you’d like to support.
Dhurrie weaving co-operative: The families in this weaving co-op are currently working from home during the extended lock-down. They are able to take orders and fill them, although please expect delays with delivery due to lock-down. Their track-record for quality, reliability and delivery is excellent. Their woven rugs are superb! As they don’t have an online store or catalogue, it’s only possible to order the designs as per photographs shown here
United Artisans of Kutch: a platform for the local artisans of Kutch. UAK provides promotion, appreciation and encouragement to artisans as well as connecting them with people from all over the world and the opportunity to earn income from continuing the practice of traditional handcraft techniques.
Now that restrictions are beginning to ease, UAK are posting a range of beautiful handcrafted products for sale on their Facebook page. Please contact them via Facebook Messenger to enquire about purchasing any of the products.
Sambhali Trust: This non-profit organisation focuses on the development and empowerment of women and girls in Rajasthan. The Trust is currently working with the rural villages 100km west of Jodhpur near Setrawa, where Sambhali already has a Primary Education Centre. 200 families are in need of help. They have lost their jobs working in the local quarries, because Rajasthan is in lockdown. These families – may be 5 or 6 in each family – live in poor circumstances in basic huts with no electricity and collect water from a well. They are now approaching the extreme heat of the summer which will reach 50 degrees Celsius in this semi-arid desert area of Rajasthan. Sambhali is helping by providing food and essential supplies like rice, pulses, soap etc to these families every 15 days.
Email on 11 April 2020 from Govind Rathore, Sambhali Trust Founder and Managing Trustee: “I thank you very much for your kind and generous donation. We are trying very hard here because the need is endless and the time has come to decide who to accept and who not to accept. Today we had three women walk in this heat from Setrawa to our home – seven kilometres. They reached us by foot at 3.00pm. There was no transportation and they needed food.“
Salaam Baalak Trust works with more than 9000 children annually, many of whom live on the streets, in cramped, unhygienic slums. When street kids spend time at SBT Contact Points they receive a nutritious meal (often their only one for the day), learn life-skills and also receive non-formal education. In the last few weeks, SBT have also expanded their outreach to attend to the needs of street children who are not usually part of their shelters, but are in desperate needs of food and succour on the streets of Delhi. With the current pandemic, SBT has had to close its centres and is running short of funds, as many of their regular donors have also been affected by the ongoing crisis. SBT are struggling to provide even just the basics for the children and their families. The children are more vulnerable than ever. Read more about Salaam Baalak Trust here
- Buying nutritious food and sanitation goods for the children,
- Buying PPE equipment for SBT staff who are at the front line, feeding more than 2500 people everyday
- Provision for SBT teachers, social workers and mental health workers who work 24/7 to support and care for the children.
Dastkar supports more than 100,000 craftspeople in 25 states of India. They have re-opened their artisan support fund which was initially started after the 2001 earthquake. Learn more here
Bebali Foundation: An Indonesian nonprofit that works with traditional communities on eleven islands to support the development of community enterprise based on sustainable use of natural resources. Its work often promotes the cultural and economic value of traditional natural-dyed textiles. Yayasan facilitates the development of an archipelago-wide weavers’ network through which member cooperatives work to address shared interests in dye-plant conservation, cultural continuity, and economic development.
Threads of Life sells high-value heirloom-quality textiles and baskets made to an exquisite standard usually only seen in museums. Each piece is made with local materials and natural dyes and is bought, following fair trade principles, directly from over 1000 weavers on 12 islands across Indonesia.
Ma Te Sai: By shopping with Ma Te Sai you will be supporting traditional artisans from all over Laos. As a valued retreat|recreate traveller, please use the code RECREATE15 (until 30 SEP 2020) at checkout to access your 15% discount off goods (excluding shipping) .
Ock Pop Tok’s mission is to elevate the profile of Lao textiles and artisans, to increase economic opportunities for artisans, and to facilitate creative and educational collaboration in Laos and worldwide. Their online shop is open, however DHL will only commence shipping once the lockdown is lifted (expected from April 20). Delivery is expected to take longer than usual at this time. If you wish to support OPT’s mission and artisan livelihoods, making a purchase on their webshop is, at the moment, the best way to do so.
Traditional Arts and Ethnology Centre is an engaging, culturally rich learning centre located in the heart of Luang Prabang, Lao PDR. Since 2007, TAEC has inspired visitors by exploring, celebrating, and preserving the diverse ethnic cultures and peoples of Laos through professionally curated permanent and special exhibitions, events, and craft workshops.
TAEC have set up a specific artisan support section on their website:
It’s also possible to place orders through TAEC’s online shop . Please be aware that there may be a delay with orders being shipped. Providing you don’t mind waiting a little to receive your handmade products, this is still a good option for anyone who wants to simply support the handicraft producers and TAEC. Maybe start your Christmas shopping now?!
Tai Baan: A fair trade social business that works with traditional handicraft artisans to preserve and promote Lao village crafts, create employment opportunities for villagers – mostly women – and reduce poverty. TaiBaan means ‘village or a community of villages’ in the Lao language. It seeks to preserve, renew, and re-brand the ancient Lao crafts and techniques of the diverse ethnic population of Laos and showcase them to the world.
View additional TaiBaan product catalogues here or
Al Nour, Marrakech: a social enterprise supporting disabled women
Al Kawtar Association, Marrakech: a social enterprise supporting disabled women.
Enquire about purchasing hand-embroidered goods here
Amal is a Marrakech-based nonprofit organization dedicated to the empowerment of disadvantaged women through restaurant training and job placement. Amal’s goal is personal transformation through job and life skills development for their trainees, a stepping stone to economic and social stability.
Muhra is a Syrian Women’s Social Enterprise in Istanbul and is an initiative of Small Projects Istanbul. Muhra means female foal in Arabic, and the organisation represents the growth, strength and resilience of women all around the world. The Muhra Store is an online marketplace, where the Drop Earrings Not Bombs collection is featured as well as other collections. Drop Earrings Not Bombs aims to create beautiful earrings, to value the work of handmade products and to foster the empowerment of women who are natural leaders, all within the creative and collaborative space of a community center, a home to families and a hub to ideas.
Under the current uncertain circumstances, Muhra have had to stop production, sales and all other operations until further notice. Muhra are striving to support the women by continuing to give them their monthly payment but are struggling with generating income during lockdown. Your help can make a vital difference to these families.
- 10-50 EUROS help the women and their families for a weekly salary
- 100 EUROS salary of 1 women per month
- 200 EUROS salary of 2 women per month
- 300 EUROS salary of 3 women per month
- 400 EUROS salary of 4 women per month
Reaching Out: Their name in Vietnamese, Hòa Nhập, means integration. A gift from Reaching Out gives twice. The unique, exquisitely crafted items from this locally owned, sustainable, fair trade social enterprise give the gift of opportunity to differently-abled, skilled artisans and gracious retail staff. Reaching Out was established in 2000 with the vision of providing opportunities for people of disability (PWD’s) to learn skills and gain meaningful employment so that they are able to integrate fully with their communities and lead independent and fulfilling lives.