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Formed in 1973, TARA Projects (Trade Alternative Reform Action) was created to empower disadvantaged artisans in Delhi and work towards eradicating unfair trade practices and child labor. Focusing on community development and marketing handicrafts, TARA works with 25 community-based groups of artisans from all regions of North India. Providing local artisans with access to the world market whilst maintaining fair trade standards, TARA represents the possibility of a brighter future.
The idea of a ‘new life’ being offered to the artisans is symbolised through the blue Lotus flower logo of the TARA Projects. Lotus flowers can grow out of even the dirtiest water, and are always reaching for the sun, symbolising new life, new beginnings and a land of promise. For the Tara projects, the Lotus flower represents the possibility of a brighter future, free from poverty and full of hope.
TARA members are involved in the production and marketing of handicrafts with the aim to improve the livelihood and education of the producers. By following fair-trade principles, TARA supports disadvantaged and homeless artisans and helps them overcome challenges such as poverty, illiteracy and exploitation, challenges that some artisans faced in their lives every day. As one of India’s largest fair-trade organisations, TARA is known as a pioneer in the areas of fair wages and non-formal education programs for women and children.
Offering vocational training, adult literacy classes, and health and environmental awareness, TARA promotes knowledge and a high sense of self-respect to its members. Medical insurance, interest free loans, monetary advances, skill training and a savings program are also benefits that TARA offers. TARA Project's key health intervention is the ‘Delivering Hope Program’ which provides training for midwives, midwife support groups, birth kits and promotes pregnancy record keeping.
TARA’s producers work within registered cooperative communities, although small family workshops are still given help. In instances where goods have been rejected by buyers, TARA still pays its producers, and also provides them with loans or grants in order to prevent them from having to go to money lenders at high interest rates. TARA tries to ensure wages are at least 15%, and as much as 50%, above normal when sales enable this.