Profile of CONTIGO´s partner MESH

Supply chain

Trading partner: MESH, NGO
Function: Service Provider and Coordinator
Structure: Associated producers
Tradeway: Direct import CONTIGO


Shopping bags and printed bags made of cotton


New-Delhi, India – distance to Europa: 6,000km

Delhi to Goettingen (Source: Google Source)

Founded in 1981


  • Beginning of the 1970s – 1981: The institution Bethany Village (in Ganaur, state of Haryana) initiates projects to generate income for leprosy patients. Training on sewing machines for the production of home textiles. Raising of poults, first sales to family members and closer friends
  • 1976: First exports of hand-stitched bed covers to Sweden. Domestic customers also become aware of the textiles
  • 1981: Founding of the central marketing organisation MESH (=Maximising Employment to Serve the Handicapped) with the aim of creating income opportunities and thereby perspectives and rehabilitation for people with leprosy and other impairments
  • In the following years:
    • Further professional chick farms and sewing workshops (in the Anandagram Leprosy Colony in Delhi) can be established
    • Cooperation with other workshops and institutions in the states of Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan
  • 1982: MESH opens its first retailshop
  • 1984: MESH receives an export licence
  • 1987: The organisation moves to the present-day location in New-Delhi
  • 2000: MESH receives the Helen Keller Award for its commitment. Sales volume grows to over 10 million Indian rupees
  • 2007: MESH becomes a member of Fair Trade Forum India
  • 2008: MESH becomes a member of the WFTO (World Fair Trade Organisation)
  • 2007-2009: With the financial support of the Swedish Fairtrade importer IM Soir, MESH participates in the project “The World of good fair wage guide”, a project to calculate and enforce fair wages in manufacturing workshops
  • 2008: The sale of poults is stopped as it is no longer competitive
  • 2008: MESH founds a design studio which offers internal trainings for product development
  • 2015: Through the “Producer Development Project” MESH supports its producer groups to better achieve and implement Fairtrade guidelines according to the WFTO, in the following years monitoring systems are implemented at the producer groups
  • 2017- 2018: Expansion of training offers for producer groups in the area of ​​product development, fair trade
  • 2018: Relocation of the MESH Design Studio in New Delhi
  • 2021: MESH celebrates its 40. jubilee

Structure of MESH:

Longterm cooperation with 28 producer groups and 7 independent artisans in 12 states in India, with 1,078 artisans (as of 2019) and their dependants. These are active in the fields of textiles, paper craft, jewelry making and screen printing.

  • 10 groups for the rehabilitation of leprosy affected artisans
  • 10 groups for physically and mentally challenged people
  • 8 integrative craft groups (people with / without impairments)
  • 31% of craftsmen and women are affected by leprosy
  • 62% of all employees are women, 5 groups consist of women only
  • 14 groups work with MESH according to a “guarantee system” (based on 12-25 year long-term cooperation)
  • Groups are regularly visited and monitored, transparent insight into personnel accounting (no child and forced labour) and payroll accounting, cost and price calculation -> MESH encourages producers to pay minimum wages, improve working conditions and safety measures


  • Elected board with members (have voting rights) and board secretary (5 men and 3 women)
  • Annual general meeting of all producer groups

Cooperation with CONTIGO since 2016

Structure of the business

Number of employees working in New-Delhi:

  • 11 full-time employees (4 women, 7 men), working in the areas:
    • Administration, marketing, quality control, sales, export
  • MESH Design Studio: in house textile designer for product development, design and skill enhancement of producer groups
  • MESH capacity building: social worker, fair trade representative
  • own retail store in New Delhi

Main areas of work:

  • Procurement for the partner workshops
  • Support in the training of producer groups
  • Advice on product and range design
  • Guidance to village industries in developing cost sheets, advice on pricing
  • Assistance to producers in obtaining raw materials


Workshops of the CONTIGO bags: 

1) Sewing of the bags:

  • Workshop: Bethany Weaves” at “Bethany Leprosy Colony”
  • Location: on the outskirts of Bapatla, in the state of Andhra Pradesh
  • Specialisation in hand weaving and sewing of bags, pillowcases and bed covers
  • Number of employees: 45 women
  • ¾ of sales go to MESH
  • Member of Fairtrade Forum India

2) Printing of the bags:

  • Workshop: “Hubli Hospital for the Handicapped Rehabilitation & Training Unit”, which provides manual work tasks for people with physical impairments of any kind
  • Location: Hubli in the state of Karnataka
  • Specialisation in printing, sewing, wood carving and card production
  • Number of employees: 68 employees (42 women, 26 men)


  • Home market (13 %), predominantely via the own retailshop
  • Exports (87% ) to the U.S.A., Great Britain, Australia, Germany, Canada, Switzerland


  • To create income opportunities for people with physical impairments and leprosy diseases
  • To train and educate on the basis of individual possibilities
  • To establish a good economic basis (thereby ensuring good payments and cash flow)
  • To maintain and improve product quality
  • To develop calculations which make it possible to pay fair wages
  • To offer permanent, year-round employment for all craftsmen and women

Special features

  • Dedication to people with physical and mental impairments who have little chance on the normal job market: with the support of MESH, they can earn a living with dignity
  • Voluntary financial contribution for the education of the employees’ children: a fund for scholarships has been set up for this purpose
  • Education for children in the leper colonies:
    • Free schooling grants for 5 girls and 4 boys
    • Loan for higher education and vocational training to 11 students

Why does CONTIGO work with MESH: An admirable social commitment combined with high product quality.


Fairtrade classification

FTA = Fairtrade Approved


Fairtrade aspects

MESH 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

  • Minimum wage in New-Delhi: INR/month (INR = Indian Rupee)
    • un-skilled: INR 14,806/month
    • semi-skilled: INR 16,284/month
    • skilled: INR 17,924/month
  • Average wage at MESH: above average
  • Monthly salary is transferred to employees own bank account
  • Bonus payment of a 13th monthly salary

Humane working conditions

Working hours:

The statutory working time and break regulations are met.

Social benefits:

For all employees at MESH in New-Delhi:

  • Paid festival and national holidays (9-11 days per year)
  • Paid recreation holidays (7 days)
  • Paid sick leave (13 days)
  • Payment of contributions to pension scheme PF (=Employees´ Provident Fund), employer and employee pay each 12 % of monthly wage
  • Payment of contributions to health insurance MEDICLAIM
  • In case of need: financial support of one month’s salary/year for medical allowance and medication
  • Voluntary financial support for the education of the children of the employees, max. INR 500/month


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



  • Personal visits in New-Delhi (2016, 2018)
  • Personal visits of MESH at the CONTIGO headquarter (2018, 2019)
  • Member of
    • Forum Fairtrade India since 2007
    • World Fair Trade Organisation since 2008


Country information

See Encyclopaedia Britannica: India





Author: Janina Lange on 14. October 2021

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