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About Rasa
RASA – Ruro Agro Services Association

Ruro Agro Services Association or RASA was established by Sasha (www.sashaworld.com), a Kolkata based not-for profit organization involved in reviving and promoting craft, in 1991. It is a predominantly women’s enterprise.

Rasa is a not-for-profit, Fair Trade organization that trains women to make hair, body care products and gourmet spices from pure, organic and natural materials. Rasa identifies women from underprivileged communities and trains them with technical and managerial skills to enable them to set up efficient production units for agro based products. The unit is equipped with basic processing and testing facilities and the women are trained and skilled in preparation, production, and packaging the products.

Sasha, apart from promoting and supporting the unit, works for special backward linkages to authentic sources of natural, herbal and organic raw materials and ingredients.

Rasa also has an active Research and development cell for the purpose of identifying and developing new products and upgrading the existing range, so that the entire process is a dynamic one, relying on constant interaction. Like other groups affiliated to Sasha, Rasa is committed to Fair Trade practices and ecologically sustainable development. Through our commitment to Fair Trade, we pursue the cause of fair wages, equal opportunities and human rights. We encourage employment in rural communities and market their produce both nationally and internationally.

We try to ensure that our business is ecologically sustainable. The products are not tested on animals nor do they contain any chemical additives or preservatives.


Read about the people behind our different ranges:

Sasha – the Umbrella Organization
Rasa Spice Blends by Shaun Kensworthy
Toilet Bags by Auromira Exports, Pondicherry
Soaps by Dev Blenders, Kolkata
Balms by Last Forest, Nilgiris
 

 
Sasha
(www.sashaworld.com)

Sasha, an Indian non-profit- began its journey thirty years ago in 1978 with a vision to impact in the lives of the disadvantaged artisan. The efforts have resulted in developing craft communities, reviving dying arts and skills, inspiring creativity among the artisans and providing them vital livelihood support and sense of self reliance & fulfillment.

Sasha is essentially a network built on complementary competencies of production (producers collectives like Sasha Textile Artisans Association, Sasha Crafts Services Company, Ruro Agro Services Association), marketing (Sasha Association for Craft Producers- SACP) and development (Sarba Shanti Ayog- SSA).

Sasha, today works with over 100 producer groups (co-operatives, societies, SHGs and small entrepreneurial initiatives) involving more than 5000 craftspeople – 70% of them women- in eastern India and other places - providing them enterprise building inputs and access to national and international markets. Sasha is an active proponent of “Fair Trade”; is a member at the apex body internationally- International Federation of Fair Trade (IFAT) and is a promoter member of Asia Fair Trade Forum and Fair Trade Forum India.

 

 
Rasa Spice Blends : Shaun Kenworthy

Shaun, the man behind the brand, started his culinary journey with Mum and Gran. As a 14 year old he started as a part time cook after school for pocket money. He is no purist but believes in an innovative marriage of distinct culinary cultures which is a natural culinary progression, not a fusion mish mash.

In the UK Shaun worked with several restaurants and hotels. In India Shaun has been involved with over 22 Hotel and Restaurant projects.

Shaun also writes about food and travel for some of India's most reputed publications.

Shaun on the Rasa Range

When putting together the five spice formulas that make up the Rasa range, two things stood out for me.

Firstly and the most obvious staring point, I wanted to get the most out of the spice blends, keeping them easy to use, fun and distinguishable in flavour and variety.

Secondly I wanted to keep all the recipes as simple as I possibly could, keeping in mind, the time constraints we all have in our lives. The 25 recipes are all based on a simple formula of quantity, being enough to serve 4 people, e.g. halve the recipe for 2 and double it for 8 people.
 

 
Auromira Exports


The Beginning:

Auromira exports is the only artisans group in Pondicherry, South India, dedicated to promoting a craft that takes us back to a simple and natural way of living. Since the beginning of Auromira Export in 2004, the blend of traditional Indian weaving techniques and the Western influence of the German Bauhaus movement, inspired us to create a new sustainable approach to the whole issue of ecology in the textile field, touching three main areas:

  • Ecological production: the entire process of extraction and production of fibers, the use of natural dyes and fabrics, furnishings and fashions in environmentally sound conditions.
  • Human ecology: the effects of textiles on the body as the nearest environment.
  • Disposal ecology: recycling of textiles and wastes and the responsible use of natural and energy resources such as water waste.

Our Mission.

The principle goal of Auromira Exports is to improving the lives of the less privileged rural youth of the surrounding Villages of Pondicherry by helping them to create beautiful, simple and useful handicrafts in order to become self reliant artisans fully integrated in their communities.

Our Aims.


  1. To promote hand weaving, readymade garments, and the related crafts (hand-dyeing, hand embellishment of textiles, needle work etc.) to create simple and beautiful textiles of a high quality as a sustainable approach to generate self-employment in our rural villages.
  2. To train unskilled youth belonging to the most backward, rural communities and establish them as independent producers in any of the weaving related areas, supporting them through our project with marketing and design input.
  3. To promote Fair Trade in India we stand for the fair price to the artisans, no child labor or women exploitation, individual development and community improvement schemes, environmentally friendly production methods and respect for the local culture and traditions of the artisans.

Our Artisans

There are more than 45 artisans, mostly women, from the surrounding villages working in our project.
 

 
Dev Blenders

Dev Blenders, founded in 2001, create beauty, skin and hair care products based on principles of Ayurveda health and beauty. Ruma and Sanjay Dutta are passionate about the applications of a complex and exotic science, Ayurveda, to not just beauty, but overall healing of the entire person. Their motto is blending Ayurveda with cosmetics.

They are committed to a safe, gentle and ecological approach to developing and manufacturing personal care products. Their product development vision encompasses the whole person and is not narrowly focused on simply 'looking good'. In essence, we are rejuvenating the Ayurvedic approach of combining healing with beautifying.

They certify that all the personal care products are animal and cruelty free and contain environmentally sound ingredients. They also take their responsibility towards supporting our fragile eco-system very seriously.

Dev Blenders employ young men and women from village itself. 2 out of 14 employees are physically disadvantaged and one of them is working for the past 7 years with the company. The exclusive range of high end handmade soaps is very popular not only in India but also in abroad. In the year 2010 Dev Blenders was honoured by Ministry of Small, Micro & Medium Industries, Government of India by presenting National Award for the best Rural Employment Generation Programme Unit from Northern India. They provide their employees all medical facilities and excellent working conditions with timely payment of salaries and provide micro loans without any interest along with liberty of repayment.
 

 
Last Forest

Last Forest Enterprises was set up by the Keystone Foundation. Keystone has been working in the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve over the last 15 years (since 1995) with indigenous communities on eco-development initiatives. The Foundation's work has been concentrated in the areas of apiculture, land development, organic & fair trade marketing, non timber forest produce and many more. An evaluation in 1993, helped the organization to develop a strategic outlook for the next decade to holistically approach the issues of Livelihoods, Conservation & Enterprise.

Last Forest Enterprises promotes agro-ecological products and indigenous crafts. It primarily aims to bring value added produce from small farmers and harvesters into the market. It is based in the Nilgiris but aims to provide a platform for many groups from around the country to be able to access the market.

It aims to spread the message of:

  • Small indigenous farmers and gatherers
  • Value added organic produce
  • Biodiversity & food security
  • Indigenous knowledge, traditions & crafts
  • Sustainable harvesting & farming methods
  • Local employments & markets
  • Fair trade principles
 
 

 

 
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