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Live and Loan: You Can Inspire Change!

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Throughout this week leading up to International Women’s Day on March 8, Mela Moments will celebrate the accomplishments of women artisans, designers and leaders who epitomize this year’s theme “Inspiring Change”.

As part of our International Women’s Day Celebration, Mela Artisans is offering a special gift for every loan of $100 or more made through our Live & Loan program.

A cornerstone of the Mela mission, our Live & Loan program recognizes that despite the beauty and richness of their artwork, it is not financially feasible for many artisans to practice their art full-time.  Often living below the poverty line, subsisting without the most basic amenities like adequate shelter, a healthy diet and basic medical care, most of them have no option but to take loans from local moneylenders at exorbitant interest rates in order to buy the supplies they need. Every year more artisans are forced to abandon their traditional vocations and take menial jobs just to help their families survive. 

Whether or not the artisans themselves are female (and many of them are), the women and children of artisan families are profoundly affected by the success of the family business.  Any monetary investment in an artisan business improves the quality of life and future opportunities of all family members.

 

“Working with Shrujan has been a blessing for so many reasons. Whether I earn Rs 1000 ($20) or Rs 10,000 ($200) a month, I know that the payment will come like clockwork: always on time, always reliable. Today, because of the money I make, I can buy my children new clothes, bicycles, bangles and even pay their school fees without having to depend on anyone else.“ - Sajjan Sisoda, Shrujan Employee

The Mela Artisans Loan Program aims to alleviate this financial stress while fostering entrepreneurship and sustainable growth in under served communities.  Artisans are offered zero-interest loans while our online lenders are repaid their loan amount (plus a 10 percent bonus) in shopping credits within three months.  Every dollar of your loan is invested directly into artisan businesses! More importantly it offers a solution to the problem of bringing small, village-based artisans to the global market without using aid-based or charity-based models.

Shrujan workers embroidering handbags in Western India.

One of the first groups that Mela Artisans collaborated with was Shrujan Creations, located in the foothills of the Himalayas in Western India. A not-for-profit organization, it has grown from one village and a handful of women to 120 villages and 3,000 women. Marketing the intricate and detailed embroidery practiced by women throughout the region, Shrujan grants access to a much larger market than these women normally would be able leverage. Additionally, Shrujan’s women embroiderers are now able to contribute to their family’s income, while sharing with the world a craft that was previously known only in this remote, arid part of the country.

To celebrate Shrujan’s success and to thank you for your support of the Live & Loan program, Mela Artisans is giving away one free Shrujan evening bag for every loan made over $100.

Click here to learn more about how our loan program works, view our loan list and read testimonials from loan recipients.  Our program benefits both the customer and the artisans. If you are truly passionate about sustainability, this is a unique way to show your support!

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  • Jessica Irias