The learning exchange indeed. The visit to APIKRI, the fair trade promoters, was an opportunity to know about how small and micro producers of art and craft material find and create their own market. Based in Yogyakarta the organization founded by 25 small handicraft producers and NGO activists in 1987, is able to facilitate 200 plus small producers to sell their products locally as well as in other countries. Some of the products are made from leather, bamboo, shell, wood, ceramic and metal like silver, copper etc.
What was impressive was to communicate behind-the-scene stories of struggle, context and creation. Their philosophy to highlight people and their lives instead of mere product was inspiring. Apart from finding market Apikri also strengthened capacities of small producers in business and other matters of understanding fair trade practices and principles like payment of fair prices, ensuring no child labor, creating good working conditions and respect to environment.
Participants who visited Apikri also shared their own experiences in promoting livelihoods in Fiji, Bangladesh, Samoa, Pakistan, Nepal, Vietnam, Afghanistan, Uzbekistan and India. The director Amir Panzuri was friendly and gracious host. He answered our questions and was also keen to know about fair trade in other countries. We learnt a lot of fair trade, fair price going to producers and other interesting insights about design and Organisationally management.
The learning exchange was enjoyable process and at the same time enabled members to share their own stories and build ties of friendship amongst themselves.