Organization - Dastkar

Basic Information
English Dastkar
Local language
Country India
Category General NGO
Domain Traditional Craftsmanship
Function Policy and System
Education and Training
Established year 1981
  • Create self-reliant craft groups
  • Assist craftspeople to use their own skills
  • Provide space and a catalyst for women’s empowerment through crafts
  • Contribute to the development of an Indian urban market for handicrafts
  • Improve the capacity of NGOs to support craftspeople

Dastkar is a Registered Society working since 1981 with crafts and craftspeople all over India. It provides a range of holistic support services to traditional artisans, including capacity building, design and product development, entrepreneurship development. It also provides them a regular marketing platform through its Nature Bazaar venue in Delhi, and other Metro bazaars and exhibitions all over India.

Working nationally for the past 35 years with over 650 producer organisations, impacting over 1 lakh artisans annually, and bringing¬† craftspeople, especially women, into the mainstream market, Dastkar’s many success stories include sandur kushal kala kendra Karnataka, SEWA Lucknow, Dastkar Ranthambhore and Dastkar Andhra, Berozgar Mahila Kalyan Samiti Bihar, Banascrafts Gujarat, DISHA Rajasthan, NAI KIRAN Kashmir, and many others. Through Dastkar’s series of holistic interventions and trainings, many thousands of craftspeople have learnt how to use the traditional skills of their hands, enter the mainstream market and become sustainable through domestic, wholesale and export orders.

Major Activities

Dastkar is a national NGO for crafts, set up over 36 years ago. Established in 1981, it works with over 1 lakh craftspeople in 25 stats all over India: from small family units to major national NGOs and includes craft cooperatives, societies and craft organisations, offering them a range of support services ranging from design, product development, marketing platforms to skills training and enterprise development.

Dastkar’s skilling, training and design development projects have helped thousands of rural organisations and craftspeople, especially women, reach self-sustainability and empowerment, using inherent craft skills as the catalyst.

Dastkar was the first NGO to organize national craft bazaar that brought craftspeople from all over India to interact directly with the urban consumer. Its themed Bazaars held in major Indian cities, 9-11 time a year have established Dastkar as a national brand for authentic and innovative handicrafts, with craftspeople as their own sellers. Dastkar has organized over 200 such Bazaars at all major metros and many 2-tier cities. They position craft as the centre of a socio-cultural experience, including colourful displays, exciting workshops, crafts demonstrations, regional food and folk performances. Since 2012 it has run the Nature Bazzaar in Delhi in collaboration with Delhi Tourism as a permanent hub for crafts and natural products.

Bazaars are preceded by design workshops entrepreneurship training to enable craftspeople optimize skills and develop products suited to emerging trends and tastes. It conducts 4-6 such intensive workshops, training and field interventions annually and gives craftspeople on-going guidance and market information. Dastkar is not simply a brand name for crafts, it is respected by craftspeople and consumers as an organisation which recognizes the potential of traditional craftspeople; creating awareness while assisting them to optimize their craft skills as a means of independence and earning.

Dastkar has also organized International and National Seminars relating to Craft-these include the weeklong Threadlines Conference with women embroiderers and experts from 8 countries discussing common issues and working together, the Oxfam Craft Study Seminars and many others. It has also participated in numerous seminars and conferences abroad, including Cumulus Netherlands. The IFAT International Fair Trade meets, Design Week London, as well as serving on national and international boards and committees for the sector.

Laila Tyabji, Chairperson, Dstkar, speaks and writes regularly on craft, design and social issues at both national and international forums. Her book Threads and Voices – Behind the Indian Textile Tradition was published by Marg in 2007. She has documented and written on chikan embroidery, Lambani embroidery, kasuti, the different embroideries of Kutch and Banaskantha, Godna and Madhubani painting and is actively involved, as a consultant and mentor, in Student Craft Design and Documentation Projects at NIFT, SRISTI, Ashoka University and NID.

Contact Information (Organization)
Address Nature Bazaar, Andheria Modh, Anuvrat Marg, New Delhi 110074
Tel 011-26805948/26808633

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