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Baladarshan Baladarshan was created in 2002, initially to promote and export handcrafts made by disadvantaged people from Chennai slums trained by SPEED Trust (Slum People Education & Economic Development). Baladarshan extended its partnership progressively to many other NGOs and Fair Trade companies from South India, always with the aim of supporting the programs of SPEED Trust with the proceeds from the sales. Baladarshan has been approved as a provisional member by the WFTO in 2010.

SPEED Trust is the humanitarian organization closely linked to Baladarshan. It began in 1999 in the Sathyavani Muthu Nagar & Gandhi Nagar slums of Chennai to support socially and economically deprived women, particularly widowed and deserted mothers, and provide education and vocational training for their children.

The first program implemented by SPEED was a tailoring course specially dedicated to young girls who had dropped out of school. Over the last 10 years SPEED has trained many young women in tailoring, offering them a sewing machine at the end of their one year course so they can start their own business at home. At the same time, SPEED Trust has continued its education efforts, and nowadays 90% of the children in the area attend school.

In 2007, SPEED started a new project, Varnajalam, the first design store located in a slum, to market handcrafts made by the women trained in tailoring and basketry, especially handvoven baskets from recycled polyethylene wire. After the Government of Indian amended the Trust Act in 2008, SPEED could not run commercial activities anymore and Varnajalam became independent in 2010.
Varnajalam employs women from the slum formerly trained by SPEED, making crafts from recycled materials and selling them directly from the showroom or through distributors in Chennai, Bangalore, Mumbai and Delhi, or exporting via Baladarshan.

The recycled rexine billboard accessories sucsh as our aprons are stitched by young women, former students of SPEED trust tailoring school, and now employed by Varnajalam. The tailors are paid on daily wages basis at the rate of INR 130 per day. Since they all live in the slum where Varnajalam is located, they do not have to spend money for their transport. The youngest children are taken care by SPEED