There has never been a more challenging time in the world to survive than now. Improving nutrition and health at the grass-roots level is essential. Life is more than just survival. We need to do everything we can to ensure the artisans and their families have strong immune systems.
We focus on strategies that enable women to take control of their bodies and their futures. We work with women in villages to develop innovative ways of providing them with basic nutritional and medical support. From providing the fabric for artisans to craft their own masks to partnering with local food suppliers and ensuring fresh food is delivered to their doors, as well as ensuring clean drinking water is available within a reasonable walking distance; we lay the foundations for our artisans to grow and flourish. Our priorities are to:
- Distribute face masks
India is the second-most densely populated country in the world. COVID-19 and other viruses are rife. It is absolutely essential to wear face masks because there is undisputed evidence that masks do help prevent the spread of viruses.
Single-use, disposable face masks contain polypropylene which is a fossil fuel-derived plastic that can take hundreds of years to break down. They also shed harmful micro-plastics into our waterways, which are then consumed by fish (and then us, when we eat seafood).
We, The Artisan Nation, feel it is essential to provide bio-degradable free masks to all our artisans (and their respective families) to maintain robust general health (for a step one). We provide a mask kit, that can be made (by hand) by the wearer. The fabrics in each kit vary in colour so our artisans and their respective family can have an artisan mask without it being either a burden to themselves financially or a burden to the environment.
- Enable access to clean drinking water
Traditionally, in India, all villages have a well. As a local artisan described, “as the government gained knowledge, the wells were added to, and each village was provided with a large tank that collects water. This water is used for everything except drinking. With both the well system and the tank system, we need to carry huge containers of water on our hips and our head as each village usually has only one central tank. A family of four needs to have approximately 15 of these huge containers per day. It is the women’s role to get the water, but if our husband feels our heart, he helps us. Not many of the ladies get help. Some families that have more money, have installed a motor and pipes so they do not have to carry water.” None of this water is for drinking. Nearly all village people need to travel to another village to get water that is suitable for drinking. The Artisan Nation delivers fresh drinking water daily to all our artisans. Currently, not one of our artisan villages would have easy access to fresh, clean, drinking water if we did not deliver it.
- Provide fresh, healthy food
This is how one of our senior artisan shops. The story reveals her food knowledge and habits. She would be one of the more well-informed villagers. “We all get paid once a month and I spend my money in 3 places. The rice and dhal place, and the fruit and vegetable place are 2 of them. The fish man and the chicken person comes on his bike around the streets and we buy from him. My mother taught me that greens are very important so we usually have them once a week (and twice a week if my husband helps me carry them). Fruit is often expensive, so I only buy the fruit that is cheap for that week. I know it is also very important to eat fruit, so right now oranges are in season and we would share some twice a week. I know the other ladies in the village mostly buy the food for the family, but if they have a good husband that works he would help pay for the food.” The Artisan Nation believes that all the village ladies need to have access to a healthy, balanced diet. To do this, we have partnered with local food stores, and purchased both fruit, vegetables and other food in bulk. Currently most of the ladies are malnourished and we do all we can to ensure a balanced diet is accessible.
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