WARE (Women Artisans Rehabilitation Enterprise) has had four different homes since its inception, starting with founder Joseph’s own house. Joseph, a longtime SHARE employee, and 15 artisans began the cooperative in 1995 to “put the women artisans on their feet,” to allow them to be self-sufficient and contribute to their family incomes. When they outgrew Joseph’s place, they rented a workshop, then moved to another rented space. Then their success bought them a permanent workspace. Joseph contributed most of the cash, but when he fell short of the amount needed, the women used their own savings to lend him the remainder.
The WARE workshop runs very smoothly, with its own system. Sewing projects are assembled into kits, which are stacked up and accessible. The women simply help themselves to their next assignment. On-time delivery is a point of pride with the WARE artisans. They also have an excellent participation rate in all social programs. Recently the cooperatives collaborated on conducting a survey in the community, and the WARE artisans collected the most data. They instituted a 2-year savings plan for the group. All artisans contribute 1000 Rupees each month, without fail.
The group sees themselves as making up a family. Every artisan’s birthday is celebrated with everyone contributing to the festivities. They even held a surprise birthday party at a restaurant for Joseph. WARE’s own birthday (it was founded on December 28) gets celebrated as well. In addition, they recognize all sorts of national holidays and religious festivals. On Republic Day and Independence Day, they hoist the flag at their building. Recently they celebrated Valentine’s Day by dressing all in red. Joseph keeps the friendly spirit going by inviting the artisans to his home for parties and bringing in tasty home cooked treats to share with everyone.
The WARE artisans stress that they feel appreciated and supported by their group. They feel that they have the support of a family – without the fights!
No. of artisans: 27
No. of tailors: 7
No. of embroidery artisans: 17
No. of cutters: 1
No. of supervisors: 2