MADAGASCAR ARTS is a fair trade organization which assists Malagasy Artisans in preserving their artistic heritage by increasing their market share in foreign and domestic markets and ensuring their competitiveness through disciplined quality control.
Many of us engage in Fair Trade as we believe in helping poorer, underdeveloped countries and their people.
But we must ask ourselves : has fair trade improved the potential for economic and social development of artisans ?
At MADAGASCAR ARTS we can truly say YES, we have a direct impact on the lives of 65 permanent employees. The employment of these 65 people directly effects the lives of their children which today are 96 children.
MADAGASCAR ARTS pays above average wages and gives money for a midday meal. By giving permanent work contracts to all our staff we ensure that they and their dependants have healthcare.
MADAGASCAR ARTS has created a "social fund" for all employees. This fund is run by the employees and not by the manager. This fund has already saved the life of one of our employees who had an etopic pregnancy, provided finances to be available to buy school books and has helped providing transport and food at funerals, which is a very important part of life in Malagasy tradition.
We also work closely with outside suppliers who live outside from Antananarivo and who would not otherwise have an additional income other than their farming provides.
We work with 80 outside suppliers.
With regards to outside suppliers, MADAGASCAR ARTS has started to run tour groups to visit these suppliers, who so often are unknown for their skills and workmanship. By taking groups to country villages we are able to give them the exposure and encouragement they need, and also making foreigners living in Madagascar aware of these crafts.
MADAGASCAR ARTS encourages artisans to move with their times, keeping up with changing trends and fashions and yet keeping their original heritage. This is made possible through our clients and their demands and again through us assisting and working closely with the artisans directly.