Business is More Than The Bottom Line
Why Mela Artisans Believes in Taking Care of Its Artisans
Since Mela Artisans began, the company has been mindful of the people who make it. While we aspire to help more artisans, by helping them improve their livelihoods and give them a consistent source of income, we also prize health.
Public medical care in India can be dilapidated, frustrating, and inefficient. As a result many artisans refuse to take time to go to the doctor for routine checkups. Of course, cost is a factor. Even if the care is free — the long queue at the clinic, the time away from work, and transportation add up.
So we decided to bring healthcare to them.
In fact, Sevamob, a Delhi-based social enterprise, brings doctors and clinicians to your door. Earlier this fall, they brought their physicians and experts to Jaipur to meet with some of our artisans for medical check ups.
Over 75 artisans were assessed. This included blood tests, ear tests, dental check ups, body weight measurements, blood pressure, skin, bone and more. For those who needed prescription drugs, the doctors provided the artisans with the necessary meds.
The founder of Sevamob, Shelly Saxena, is a big believer in personal medical care. Everyone, he says, no matter who they are, or at what socio-economic level they’re situated in, would prefer to see a doctor in person. That’s why he started this enterprise 5 years ago, which goes beyond digital health and telemedicine to hands-on treatment.
“We can’t just assume that by sending an SMS, the person will read it, follow through, and actually take care of their health,” he says.
Sevamob has 15 units that they drive around 7 cities in India currently, conducting health camps such as these for social enterprises, NGOs, and even for-profit institutions. Their aim is simple: make healthcare affordable and at your finger tips — literally.
In addition, they prize preventative care. It’s not just about medical emergencies and visiting doctors when you’re sick. Rather, keep tabs on your health routinely. We couldn’t agree more.
Since the last camp was such a success and well-received by our artisans, we decided to host another one this month. This time with Vision Spring.
In Jaipur, our artisans specialize in making jewelry. After the age of 40, they see the effects of straining their eyes for years, or working in poor light. It’s a job that requires precision and working with small, sometimes tiny, pieces of metal and stone.
Few have ever gone for a vision exam. Many don’t buy glasses because of cost. And lastly, much like with medical exams, who is going to bypass a day’s work and instead, endure a long trip to a clinic? Not many.
Again, we partnered with an organization that specializes in going to the doorstep of the patient, Vision Spring.
Vision Spring has been operating in India for over a decade. In fact, we ran a similar campaign with them for our Kashmiri artisans who also do eye-straining work, embroidering textiles.
This camp was convened at the offices of Craft Melange, a local social enterprise, that, like us, aspires to support the cottage industries of India. They source their jewelry from artisans who mostly work from home and in their villages. Rather than asking them to come to the city, endure a long commute, or relocate, they want artisans to be able to work from home. Thus, Craft Melange has set up a network to send supplies to artisans in rural areas and once completed, pick up the final products.
For more on Mela Artisans, go to www.melaartisans.com.