65% of the 707 billion US dollar global market of handicrafts comes from developing countries but the problem here is that almost 80% of the artisans are digitally illiterate or do not know how to read or write, which leaves them vulnerable and exploited at the hands of the middlemen.
15% of the total workforce in Pakistan is associated with handmade sector, according to a British Council Study. It makes the largest workforce after agriculture sector. All parts of Pakistan have amazing artisans who produce wonderful crafts which are rich in quality and culture, but unfortunately these artisans are unable to properly market their products due to plethora of reasons such as the lack of education, lack of market know-how, financial constraints, ignorance of technology and not being digitally connected. As a result, they do not get the amount/profits out of their products they deserve and hence are unable to further improve the quality of their products and expand their business. This fact has forced many artisans to give up their skill and craft and look for other jobs which endangers the very crafts and culture they are associated with. For instance, artisans hailing from Gilgit are producing some of the finest handmade work the world needs to see but the only avenues available for them to sell their products are couple of isolated exhibitions, for which they have to travel all the way from Gilgit. Hence they find themselves exploited by middlemen who buy their products at minimum of prices and sell them multiple times costlier in local and international markets and rob the artisans of their profits.
We, at vceela, connect the unconnected artisans to the local and international markets by not only providing them with a marketplace but also marketing them in an effective way. Vceela works for the revival of the dying crafts by fusing them with modern and marketable designs and by giving design consultation to the artisans. The mission of vceela is to empower artisans economically, encourage women entrepreneurs (90 percent of our home based artisans are women), help revive dying crafts, producing entrepreneurs and creating jobs, alleviate poverty through income generation with integrity. We, at vceela, consider our ethical values as our strength. We believe in fair trade business. Our online marketplace gives customers direct access to artisans by cutting out middlemen. Women empowerment lies at the core of our value system. Most of our artisans are women and we give big voices to their small businesses. We believe that if we can economically empower women and enable them to play a constructive role in national economic structure, it can be a huge boost to the country's economy because more than half the population comprises of women. Through promoting traditional arts and crafts, we aim to connect cultures within and outside Pakistan. We strongly believe that we can help produce a lot of stars from these talented artisans.We want the world to see their skill and craft. We strongly feel that NO ONE SHOULD BE LEFT BEHIND in this digitally connected world.
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