Browse for crafts created by a diverse group of Vietnamese ethnic minorities in a shop once visited by former US President Bill Clinton.
What to experience ?
Craft Link is a Vietnamese not-for-profit, Fair trade organisation, which helps traditional craft producers to revive their culture and improve their livelihoods through handicraft production and marketing. Craft Link has shops on Van Mieu Street and in the worth-a-visit Museum of Ethnology in Hanoi.
They aim to offer a variety of high-quality handicraft items with functional value as well as cultural significance. The shop overflows with Ta Oi baskets, Dao ornaments, Nung embroidered cushion covers, Black Thai blankets, and hemp purses with Hmong appliqués. The artisans are encouraged to use their traditional patterns, designs and skills to produce modern products, so each retains a touch of their culture.
The shops offer much more than a selection of crafts from dozens of different ethnic minorities. Browsing through the shop creates awareness of Viet Nam’s multi-ethnic fabric, as information on the handicrafts and their producers reveals the origins of the designs and patterns, and the traditional skills used to make them. The information is focused to provide an understanding about the local people, their social context as well as their living environment.
They sometimes bring visitors to the project sites in ethnic villages, so that they can have a closer connection with the artisans, and better understand their traditional culture as well as their handicraft making process.
How does it help ?
Craft Link was established in 1996 as a non-profit organisation to provide ethnic minorities and the disadvantaged with the chance to earn a fair wage and keep their culture alive through crafts. The activities are guided by a Steering Committee comprised of independent Vietnamese individuals and representatives of NGOs.
The first objective is to revive the traditional culture of the area: weaving and dyeing skills as well as Ethnic traditional patterns. They collaborate with Vietnamese institutions such as the Museum of Ethnology to document and revive traditional crafts.
As a member of the International Fair Trade Association, it guarantees profits from sales go directly to the artisans. They also help them to have a better working environment, with electricity, more tools and working facilities….
The organisation provides training in management practices, bookkeeping, pricing, product development and marketing in order to place more control of the entire commercial process in the hands of the producers. The development and design team further assists the artisans by implementing income-generating projects.
At present Craft Link supports 63 groups all over Vietnam of which 25% are disadvantaged groups, such as Agent Orange victims, and closely cooperates with NGOs and INGOs such as CARE and the UN Drug Control Programme to implement the handicraft components of their poverty alleviation programmes.
Craft Link is an official member of WFTO (World Fair Trade Organisation)
No.51 Van Mieu, Ha Noi, Viet Nam
National Museum of Ethnology