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History

abIntroduction

In the face of industrialization, mall culture and aggressive international brand advertising; despite the lack of professional marketing infrastructure, macro investment in both financial and human resource and the social marginalization of craftspeople, Craft continues to hold its niche place in the Indian market.

Despite rapid urban industrial development, in most rural areas Craft remains a powerful catalyst for social and economic empowerment and often the only employment opportunity for women.

Who We Are

Dastkar is a private not-for-profit NGO established in 1981, working to support traditional Indian craftspeople, many of them women and village based, with the objective of helping craftspeople regain their place in the economic mainstream, in a country where the craft sector is second only to agriculture in providing employment.

How We Began

Over 30 years ago 6 professionals from different fields came together with a common vision: ensuring the future of India’s uniquely rich crafts heritage and living skills lay in providing craftspeople with the necessary tools, support and market access that would allow them to achieve sustainable livelihoods through their inherent hand skills.

They recognized that craftspeople had great skills but were getting increasingly marginalized as markets became more urbanized and sophisticated. There was an immense gap between the mainly rural craftsperson and the urban consumer. It was essential to bridge this gap and so Dastkar came into existence to provide this link of awareness and interaction between craftsperson and consumer, without the intervention of government agencies or commercial middlemen, helping both sides realise the potential and needs of the other.

What We Do

Dastkar carries out its mission through advocacy with governmental, non-governmental & foreign agencies; as consultant, evaluator & resource provider to craftgroups and as organiser of direct retail marketing platforms in its popular Bazaars and Exhibitions, bringing together craftspeople, producer groups, environmental organisations, social activists & cultural performers with urban consumers, students and international buyers.

Dastkar assists craftspeople through support service activities such as capacity building workshops, skills training, collaborative design innovation and product development; helping them transform traditional skills into products that have contemporary appeal, thereby providing craft communities with a source of permanent employment and sustained earning.

Today Dastkar works with an ever growing family of more than 350 craftgroups and small producers, directly and indirectly affecting the lives of approximately 43,000 artisans from across 22 States of India.

Dastkar is a brand name for quality craft from genuine producers and the main focus remains the Indian urban retail market and customer.