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Maison Bengal (www.maisonbengal.co.uk) is a small fair trade company, trading exclusively with NGOs and artisan cooperatives in Bangladesh. All suppliers are members of ECOTA, which is the local fair trade umbrella organisation. Maison Bengal currently works with five suppliers, and more are soon to be added. The company was set-up after its Director, Sheenagh Day returned to the UK after working in Dhaka for a number of years.
Established in 1990, Tarango (Training, Assistance and Rural Advancement NGO) is a small NGO which aims to help women in Bangladesh, and particularly rural widows, to secure an income through the production of handicrafts. Products include items made of jute, nakshikantha needle work and woven bags. A number of development programmes in the areas of health, education and the environment have also been incorporated into the scope of activities. The most significant of these is the WEDP project, (Women Entrepreneurship Development Program) which helps rural women to develop business planning tools for their small businesses.
Dhaka Handicrafts is one of the largest craft producing and exporting organisations in Bangladesh, set up for the benefit of traditional artisans. Its product specialisation is woven baskets from natural fibres, cane bowls, and terracotta pottery. It is registered in Bangladesh as a limited company, however the owners of the organisation are the artisan producers themselves. Dhaka Handicrafts began in 1976 as a project of "Enfants du Monde" a Swiss registered international NGO. The organisation counts approximately 3,200 producer families, with over 16,000 beneficiaries working in 64 groups throughout Bangladesh.
Corr the Jute Works was established in 1971, in order to help rehabilitate widows left behind by the war of liberation. Initially women were provided with opportunities for economic independence by producing handmade goods out of locally grown jute. This has now diversified to include products made from clay, cane, wax and terracotta.
Concern Bangladesh is the country office for Concern, an Irish non-denominational voluntary organisation devoted to the relief, assistance and advancement of people in need in less developed areas of the world, working in rural and urban areas, in the fields of health, education, social development and emergency relief.
Rishilpi is a small NGO set up in 1977 by two young Italians. Its main aim is to give employment and income generating opportunities to the local poor in the south west of Bangladesh.
Sheenagh Day, Maison Bengal