Over the years, we have developed a successful capacity building strategy, maximizing our social impact while keeping our buyers happy with timely deliveries of quality products. In order to help build a sustainable enterprise, we begin by identifying a potential, motivated artisan group who has access to materials, and providing a mobilisation roadmap. We train artisans, grassroots recyclers, and refugees safe production and business skills and provide our marketing and business resources to help them flourish. All profits from sales go directly towards capacity building workshops, training, and scaling, thus maximizing our social impact.
Over the last seven years, Conserve has trained local artisans in a range of handicrafts, including stitching, embroidery, weaving, crocheting, and block printing. We provide training on best business practices, Fair Trade, labour policies, accounting, and documentation, and offer community building activities. Additionally, we offer counselling support which plays a crucial role in our relationship with the groups, lending security and social inclusivity to the artisans.
Grassroot recyclers remain an incredibly exploited class in India due to a lack of public amenities and poor infrastructure. Within the poorest urban populations, grassroot recyclers struggle with gender violence, sexism, classism, and rampant diseases, and are forced into waste picking for the sake of their livelihoods.
For more than 15 years, Conserve has worked closely with grassroot recyclers, providing up to two years’ worth of training in our patented technology: converting discarded single-use plastics into Handmade Recycled Plastic, a sustainable leather-like material. We equip individuals with safe and humane production skills, from collection to cleaning, from material fabrication to product construction, and from quality checking to packaging. Beyond the scope of production training, we also invite external trainers to share their networking and financial knowledge.
For the last two years, Conserve has worked with UNHCR’s Swavlamban project, Self Reliance for Refugees group of 25 Afghani refugee women who settled into a low-income district in Delhi. Since we provided them with training in stitching, crochet, embroidery, and supporting business functions, the refugees established their own manufacturing brand, Akseer.
Today, they supply their products to a local market, create bespoke pieces for boutiques in North India, and spread social awareness of better business practices. In addition to our counseling services, we conduct community integration programs to enhance harmony between host communities and the refugees who have come to call a foreign land their new home.