Jaishree and Monika Herbst

Profile of CONTIGO’s partner Manjeen

Supply chain

Trading Partner: Manjeen Handicrafts, microenterprise
Function: Service Provider and coordinator for CONTIGO
Structure: Associated producers
Tradeway: Direct import CONTIGO


Home decorations made of metal

Scarves made of cotton, modal and wool


Delhi to Göttingen (Source: Google Source)

Office: Govindpuri district in south-east New Delhi, India – distance from Europe: 6,000km

Production sites in the states: Rajasthan, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Punjab and Bihar

Founded in 2000


  • As a child the founder of Manjeen, Jaishree (born 1969) moves with her family from the poor north of India to New Delhi. Her father supports the education of his daughters. As a teenager, Jaishree supports the family of eight with embroidery work at home.
  • Jaishree knows poverty and social exclusion from her own experience. As a young woman she is looking for opportunities to get involved with women’s concerns. She sees income education and schooling as the key to a self-determined, independent life.
  • 1989-1999: Jaishree works for an Indian Fairtrade organisation in various areas of promoting crafts and women’s projects.
  • During this time she voluntarily works in the slum area of Govindpuri in south-east New Delhi. Jaishree supports women with training and design advice in the production of fashion jewellery that is sold on the local market.
  • The uncertainty of the local sales market prompts Jaishree to rethink. Only a professional organisation and marketing can continuously provide the craftsmen and women with work and income.
  • 2000: Foundation of “Manjeen Handicrafts” as a marketing and export organisation (abbreviation for “Marginalized Artisans Network and Joint Endeavour”) with the aim of creating reliable income opportunities for disadvantaged craftsmen and women through a strong, effective network.
  • Foundation of the Manjeen Association as an NGO for charitable purposes: training courses for craftsmen and promotion of social projects.
  • Manjeen Handicrafts increasingly wins customers among Fair Trade importers in Europe and New Zealand
  • By 2019, Manjeen has succeeded in encouraging many of the informal artisans to register their businesses in order to obtain legal status. The aim: more transparency, economic responsibility, professionalisation, legal certainty.

Cooperation with CONTIGO since 2018

Structure of the business

Number of employees:

  • 11 permanent employees (7 women, 4 men)
  • Cooperation with 18 external production sites with approx. 265 artisans
    • Production in the states of Rajasthan, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Punjab and Bihar
    • Product groups: jewellery (real and fashion), scarves, home decorations and furniture made of wood and metal
    • Organisation as independent family-run businesses or as small cooperatives. Handicraft production is the main source of income for the artisans
    • Cooperation with Manjeen on the basis of fair trade criteria: advance payment on order placement, reliable payment, long term, free product and design development, general education offers

Work organisation:

Manjeen Handicrafts as a marketing organisation takes over the following tasks for the associated workshops:

  • Administration
  • Product development
  • Customer acquisition and support
  • Order coordination
  • Quality control of completed orders
  • Labelling, packaging and export
  • Consulting and auditing of external workshops
  • Purchasing the required raw materials, advance payment when placing the order

Manjeen Association as a non-profit arm is financed through business operations. All associated producers are members.
They offer workshops for:

  • Technical trainings
  • Product development
  • Business training
  • Assistance with tax and company law matters, start-up assistance
  • General topics, such as general education, health, safety, hygiene

Establishment of a “Committee of Administration”: monthly meetings of representatives of the producer groups, Jaishree and other employees to discuss business decisions.


The scarves produced for CONTIGO are produced by

  • Value Textiles, Amitsar (Punjab), 10 employees; digital printed scarves. Weaving unit for white cotton and viscose fabrics. Digital printing unit. In house waste water treatment plant. Salaries above minimum wage, all regulations according to Indian labour law are met.
  • Shivam Textiles Amitsar (Punjab), 12-15 employees; scarves in jacquard weaving technique made on power looms. Good success on the domestic market, expansion of the weaving unit is planned. Salaries above minimum wage, all regulations according to Indian labour law are met.

The metal candle holders produced for CONTIGO are produced by

  • Ram Singh Handicrafts Moradabad (Uttar Pradesh), 10 employees
  • S.K. Handicrafts Moradabad (Uttar Pradesh), 10 employees


  • Exports (100%) to Austria, Germany, France, Italy, New Zealand


  • To support and further develop artisans
  • To promote structural and social development of the communities in which the artisans live
  • To financially support employees and producer families in order to give daughters access to school education
  • To further educate and support offers for children of employees and producers
  • To provide life and health insurance

Special features

  • Manjeen has close links with all production groups and individual artisans through the combination of business and NGO. In addition to generating income, they benefit from a wide range of support services to optimise their business and improve their living conditions.

Why does CONTIGO work with Manjeen: Jaishree is a highly motivated entrepreneur. She knows the difficulties of asserting herself in society as a woman and as a small business through her own biography. CONTIGO particularly appreciates her professionalism and her consistent work on product quality and design.


Fairtrade classification

FTA = Fairtrade Approved


Fairtrade aspects

Manjeen complies with the following Fairtrade Principles:

No child labour

No discrimination

No discrimination due to gender, disability, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation, political orientation, or infection with HIV

Fair wages

For the permanent employees in the head office in New Delhi:

  • Minimum wage in New Delhi: (INR = Indian Rupee)
    • Unskilled: INR 14.000/month
    • Semi-Skilled: INR 15,400/month
    • Skilled: INR 17.000/month
  • Wages at Manjeen:
    • Fixed salaries, between INR 14.000 – 20.000/month depending on tasks and responsibilities
  • Monthly payment in cash, or transfer to own bank accounts
  • Bonus payments:
    • Annual bonus as 13th monthly salary
    • Festival bonus
  • Travel allowance
  • Overtime is remunerated in accordance with statutory regulations

Humane working conditions

Working hours:

  • 8 hours/day
  • 2 tea breaks à 30 minutes, half hour lunch break
  • 6 days/week

Social benefits:

For the permanent employees in the head office in New Delhi:

  • Paid leave
  • Paid holidays (national holidays and religious holidays)
  • Continued payment of wages in case of illness (7 days), accidents and during maternity leave (one month)
  • Due to the small size of the company, Manjeen is exempt from paying into the statutory social and pension insurance schemes (ESI = Employees State Insurance and EPF = Employees Provident Fund).

Educational opportunities:

  • See above: for associated workshops about the Manjeen Association

Occupational safety:

  • Safety standards in the production sites visited are met: protective clothing, mouth masks, first aid kit, fire protection, secure storage of chemicals, wastewater treatment (textile producers Amritsar)


  • Work contracts are available
  • Payroll is available
  • Pay slips are available
  • SAR (Self Assessment Report) was duly submitted to CONTIGO


  • Personal visit in New Delhi (2017, 2019, 2020), Moradabad (2018), Amritsar (2020)
  • Feedback interview during several visits in Germany

Country information

See Encyclopaedia Britannica: India

Author: Janina Lange on 28. January 2021

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