About us

Saharanpur

The Noah’s Ark Story  
Moradabad is a city with a population of 700,000 in which more than half are involved in the metal handicrafts trade, but the industry has long been plagued with injustice: artisans are paid low wages, forced to pay commissions to exporters, and must self-finance raw materials needed to complete orders. As the cost of metal has become prohibitively high and the international market has evolved, artisans must invest in diversifying beyond Moradabad’s signature brass crafts, though many fall victim to bad debt or shop closure. Trades passed down from one generation to another form an important part of India’s culture. Yet the heritage and tradition of handicrafts is increasingly threatened as insufficient profits force marginalized artisans to seek other professions.

After six years of witnessing the struggles of artisans first hand, Samuel Masih established Noah’s Ark International Exports in 1986 to change the foundation of the exporter-artisan relationship from fear to trust in an effort to raise the artisans out of poverty and preserve their livelihood. Noah’s Ark is the first and only Fair Trade certified exporter (member of WFTO and FTF India) in Moradabad. The company has supported artisans and their families with fair wages 10-15% higher than local wages, long-term business investment and collaboration, and health and education initiatives for over 25 years. An NGO, Noah’s Ark Handicrafts & Artisan Welfare Society, was created in 2000 to advance the charitable activities of the organization, which now include clean water, education, health and capacity building initiatives. Through our work, we give an identity to the artisan’s craft and help them to appreciate the value of their products while ensuring they have the skills and resources to succeed in a changing market. Like the biblical story of Noah’s Ark that symbolizes the concept of saving mankind, we strive to save the art of making handicrafts.

Mission
To empower low income artisans to break the cycle of poverty and to preserve the cultural traditions of their crafts through our commitment to Fair Trade.

Model
Hybrid composed of:

  • A Fair Trade for-profit that creates a sustainable revenue stream for artisans through the export of handmade crafts to international buyers.
  • A not-for-profit, funded solely by the for-profit, that provides health, education, clean water, profit sharing and capacity building initiatives directly to artisans, their families, and factory workers.

Staff 35 full-time workers on-site, plus 49 artisan groups employing over 500 artisans (30% of whom are women)

Areas of impact Moradabad, Jaipur, Saharanpur, Nagina, Sari Tarin, Delhi, Hapur, Firozabad & Amritsar

Impact (as of October 2012)
20 independent artisan workshops established through capacity building initiatives
100 women trained in vocational stitching school
225 children educated in 2011-2012 school year
290 estimated workers and family members given access to clean water
650-700 workers and family members received free dental, eye and medical screenings in 2012
$20000 (USD) in grants and no– or low– interest loans to artisans for vital equipment purchases and business development

Milestones
1986 Noah’s Ark International Exports Founded
1988 First major international order
2000 Noah’s Ark Artisan & Welfare Society registered as an NGO
2003 Joined WFTO/FTF India
2004 Moved offices and factory to present 10,000 ft2 facility
2010 Launched Project Pyas, clean drinking water initiative
2010 Received ISO 9001:2008 Certification
2011 Featured in Outlook India, a leading business magazine
2011-12 Implemented successful profit sharing trial with 10 artisan groups
2012 Celebrated 25th anniversary
2012 Purchased land for factory expansion (700m2)

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