If you buy MESH products read on to see how you have helped MESH to improve the lives of artisans with disabilities in India
MESH does not directly employee artisans but helps to attract customer orders and sell products made by disabled artisans in order to improve their livelihoods.
In 2011 and again in 2015 surveys were undertaken in order to evaluate the impact of MESH on the lives of these artisans. During that period, sales of artisan products via MESH showed a significant increase and those of you, nationally and internationally, who purchased from MESH will be interested and delighted to see how your purchases have changed artisans’ lives. Analysis of the data collected demonstrates how personal situation, income and expenditure, and understanding and perception of their situation and quality of life has changed for artisans with whom MESH has been associated during the study period of 2011 and 2015.
To read the full report click here
Below is a brief summary of the findings and comments from some of the artisans surveyed:
1. There has been an increase in the number of artisans who are able to fully prepare products suggesting an increased skills base and thus independence. Here is what the artisans say -
“Here I meet new people and learn new things”
“I am happy to work and proud of my work”
“Working with MESH has given my family a good living standard. I’ve also learnt a lot during the training and workshops”
“At the group, I got treatment, and training. Now I work with dignity”
“Here, we making good quality products”
2. Most artisans have been involved in their work with the producer group for more than ten years, and the number in this category has increased between 2011 and 2015, suggesting that artisans consider being involved with the group an advantage compared to alternative lifestyles.
“Working here feels like a family and provides good working conditions”
“I love the place and like working here”
3. Artisan and spouse education levels have improved over the period of the survey with fewer being classed as illiterate or semi-illiterate and more being educated up to at least elementary level.
“We have been able to educate our daughter”
5. There has been an improvement in both quality and permanence of housing over the period of the study. Availability of LPG cooking gas, electricity, water and a toilet at home has also improved for all groups. Ownership of goods has increased indicating an enhanced disposable income.
“I have been able to improve my life style”
“Before joining the unit I did not have so many things as I have now”
“Now I have a house, work, benefits - these are things that change the life”
6. Artisan wage has increased as has, for many artisans, the amount they are able to contribute to total household expenditure.
“I am happy that I am now able to earn and contribute to my family”
“Because of this work I am able to manage family expenses”
“We are managing with our income but it is very difficult”
“It has helped me to pass time and helps with my children’s expenses”
“Our income is more than our expenditure but we are not able to save”
7. By 2015, there is an increase in the number of days that artisans are able to work. However, more than half of artisans still had less than 270 days per year of work. Artisans would welcome more work - MORE ORDERS ARE NEEDED!
“We need more work and more wage so that we can cope with expenditure”
“We need regular work so we can manage our expenditure”
“I am becoming self dependent. I want more work so I will get more money”
“Not enough work so I am not happy”
8. Artisans have an increased awareness of the wage they should be able to command and an increased understanding of the value of similar work in the area - such an important change since it reduces the possibility of artisans being underpaid and increases their ability to argue for their entitlement.
9. Importantly, the majority of artisans think that their life is better than it was before they joined the producer group and the number who feel that way has increased in 2015 compared to 2011.
“I am able to eat and dress well and look after myself”
“After joining the centre I am able to live a life with dignity”
“Because of my work, life has improved. I enjoy work and am able to support my family”
“I feel more dignity working here compared to working at other places”
“I am able to take care of the children and when I am at work I forget about my sickness”
“I just enjoy being able to work and thank MESH for the opportunity”
In summary, these two surveys demonstrate how MESH has contributed to producer group prosperity: for most artisans, there is an improvement in:
• skills and understanding of market issues
• number of days worked and income
• housing, amenities and ownership of goods
• awareness of their entitlements
• sense of self worth and quality of life
The artisans that contributed to the surveys of 2011 and 2015 (and the many others who work with MESH) are a vulnerable group since they are affected by leprosy or other disabilities which affect their ability to work. With your help, MESH continues to work with these artisans, striving to sustain and improve their livelihoods.
What You Can Do To Help
If you are a business that would like to buy from MESH go to our products page here
and see what you can buy from us. All enquiries can be made here
and see if there is a supplier near you.
Make a general donation. For example, you could help to support the education of an artisan’s child or the purchase of essential equipment. If you would like to make a donation, please let us know here
You can also volunteer or be an intern. Please let us know if that interests you click here
We in MESH would like to thank Kay Sharp for her valuable analysis and input to the main report.