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When people hear the word “philanthropy,’ they tend to think about charitable organizations that engage in fundraising activities to donate money to a specific cause. While charity is, perhaps, the most common method of giving, philanthropy can also refer to organizations and projects that aim to promote human welfare, especially on a larger scale (Oxford Dictionaries, n.d.). Originating from the Greek word for ‘love of humanity,’ philanthropy can also mean enabling and empowering individuals to achieve economic and personal prosperity. To put simply, one can teach a man to fish instead of giving him a fish.
Artasian organization features
This is precisely the philosophy of one newly emerged social entrepreneurship organization Artasian. At a glance, it may appear to be yet another online marketplace for handcrafted goods, similar to platforms like Etsy and eBay. However, such an impression is misinformed which is quickly revealed when one explores the company’s website. One peculiarity of their work is that Artasian sells clothing items and accessories that are manufactured in former Soviet republics in Central Asia: Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan (Artasian, n.d.).
Since these products feature traditional elements, materials, and ornaments, the founders of the company believe that such an online marketplace will help raise global awareness of the richness and diversity of Central Asian cultures, ultimately contributing to improving their international image and attracting tourists and investors. That, in itself, is a noble goal since an English-based handcrafted and eco-friendly goods platform can have a substantial impact on exposing the beauty of Central Asian countries and eventually improving the living conditions there.
What is even more important, however, is the organization’s immediate impact on lives of many people in Central Asian countries. The company does not manufacture anything on its own; rather, it serves as an intermediary between local artisan artists and international buyers. These artists are typically women coming from large families that live in remote rural areas with little to no access to infrastructure and means of communication.
Many of these families live on less than two dollars a day, and women engage in tedious and meticulous crafts to produce clothes and accessories to be sold at annual fairs (Artasian, n.d.). Since Artasian targets relatively affluent international customers, it can charge premium prices ranging from about 40 dollars for scarves and slippers to about 150 dollars for leather clutches and device cases. All of the money goes to the artists, with the exception of a 3% company fee and comparatively small delivery charge. Needless to say, this income can make a significant positive impact on the lives of the artists and their families.
Thus, Artasian adheres to the fair trade principle that aims to help local producers in developing countries so as to promote human welfare and achieve global sustainability. The artists have the skills, but they lack the infrastructure to take full advantage of them, and Artasian provides exactly that. At the same time, their endeavor also benefits the culture of Central Asian countries by introducing global consumers to it.
Artasian. (n.d.). About us. Web.
Oxford Dictionaries. (n.d.). Philanthropy. Web.