Daily Video

February 1, 2013

Nonprofit Empowers Local Artisans

Many small-scale artisans around the world have trouble linking themselves to consistent buyer markets. Rebecca van Bergen is the founder and executive director of Nest, a nonprofit organization based in New York that looks for artisans who provide business connections as well as, “training and capacity building programs for artisan businesses around the world.”

Nest only works with businesses that fulfill certain criteria. The artisans must demonstrate leadership and either hire economically disadvantaged employees, be owned by a woman, or promote peace.

Nest has collaborated with local artisans from around the world, from helping Batik-print makers in Swaziland make fabric patterns to aiding a couple in Nairobi, Kenya, working to build a new facility for their brass casting business. Van Buren aims to have her nonprofit do more than just provide financing; she hopes to give these businesses the tools to become successful in the long term.

“One of the things that is exciting about out model is that we can invest resources and level the playing field and bring these people all over these world and these incredible, skilled artisans to the market and then help the next group,” she said.

Warm up questions

1. What is an artisan?

2. Have you ever tried to sell something you made? What was your experience?

3. How might a local crafts business contribute to a community?

Discussion questions

1. What did you find most interesting about this video?

2. Do you think this is an effective way to help small local economies?

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