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 38 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.
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.
Dastkar provides marketing platforms to craftspeople, thereby empowering the crafts community to bypass exploitative middlemen and directly operate in the market. Dastkar bazaars and exhibitions bring together craftspeople, producer groups, environmental organisations, social activists & cultural performers with urban consumers, students and international buyers.