Woven medallions are a handsome addition to this well-crafted palm leaf shopping basket. Strong sewn leather straps make a sturdy basket that will last.
Rishilpi, a nonprofit, nongovernmental development organization in southwest Bangladesh, was founded to improve the lives of people of the Rishi caste. "Rishilp" is formed from two Bengali words, "Rishi," denoting the caste, and "shilpi," meaning artist or craftsman. Rishi, traditionally leather workers, for centuries have lived at the margins of Bengali society. Generally landless, with no easy access to schools, many struggled in a continual search for work to survive. In addition to income generation, Rishilpi conducts relief and development work in rural Bangladesh communities. Benefits to artisans include education sponsorship, health care, microcredit savings programs and early marriage prevention support for their adolescent daughters.