Woodcraft: Carving Social Change

For most of us, access to eye care and health awareness resources are commonplace, but for many of our wood craft artisans, this hasn’t always been the case. Poor eyesight is hardly ideal for a job requiring manual dexterity, minute detail work, and focus. Imagine for a moment that you’re carving an intricate pattern into strong, heavy rosewood. Now imagine doing this with blurred vision. Doesn’t seem easy, does it?

The Big Picture

The challenges our artisan communities face are difficult and numerous. The Rural population of India is at a severe disadvantage when it comes to healthcare and education access. The National Rural Health System has found that 66% of the rural population lacks access to preventative medicine. To make matters worse, the United Nations found that 75% of the health infrastructure in India is concentrated in Urban areas, leaving the rural population at a disadvantage. These sobering stats, coupled with caste and gender discrimination, affect millions in India. Will we be able to solve these problems? Probably not, but together - we can continue to address these issues and make a positive impact one person at a time.

Health Checkup Camp

In a continued effort to raise awareness and offer these resources, our Indian arm of operations, SETU society, organized a free health and eye checkup camp in March 2015 for our Woodcraft artisan partners. Their craft involves a lot of physical labor and keen attention to detail, so routine health and vision checkups are a necessity.

Services Offered

So much was accomplished at this camp, and we’re excited to see how we can expand upon these services in the future. This time around, the following services and guidance were provided by a team of qualified doctors:

  • Free preventive health check-ups for general illness and risk factors
  • Free medicine distribution for common cold, fever, and STIs for 355 artisans

  • Free eye exams and distribution of eyeglasses for 260 artisans

  • Information and medication for eye ailments

  • Awareness on general health, respiratory care, and hygiene

Our Continued Commitment

To us, Fair Trade doesn’t end at a fair wage. We work hand in hand with our artisan partners in India to ensure that they’re afforded the services they need to become a sustainable community. We don’t stop at these health camps. Empowering communities with computer centers, women’s literacy workshops, skills training, and scholarships are just some of the ways we spark change. The future is bright—we’re excited to explore more ways that we can strengthen our bonds, build trust, and make an impact.


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