Artisans Our Community
Ayesha Abed Foundation
The Ayesha Abed Foundation (AAF) was founded in 1982 to honour the memory and contributions of the late Mrs. Ayesha Abed, a BRAC staff member and spouse of the late Sir Fazle Hasan Abed, founder of BRAC. The foundation was established to organise thousands of rural women and give them training on a variety of crafts, connecting them to Aarong's designers, providing them a suitable working environment, linking them to BRAC's social development programmes, and most importantly, equipping them with a regular source of income.
On September 3, 1983, the Manikgonj Foundation production centre was inaugurated. Today, the Foundation is spread across 14 districts with 15 main centres, 736 sub-centres and 11 wings in both rural and semi-urban areas.
Over 25,000 artisans, 97% of whom are women, currently work with the Ayesha Abed Foundation. Most artisans work at AAF sub-centres near their home, which is managed by a local woman from that respective area. Aarong provides the design, raw materials, and technical support for each product they produce. Our sub-centre artisans focus on various hand embroidery value additions for apparels and home textile. Once they finish their work, the product is transferred to our main centre, where another group of artisans complete the final steps.
The AAF main centres consist of various craft sections with master artisans who regularly train new groups of women to develop their skills to produce finished garments, home textiles, and other product lines which are then retailed at Aarong. In addition to craftpersons, AAF consists of management professionals who maintain the supply chain to ensure its seamless operation and final distribution to Aarong shops around Bangladesh.
The artisans who work at AAF benefit greatly from BRAC's social and well-being programmes. Not only do they receive training and support to improve their craft, but they also have access to essential services like healthcare and awareness on human rights. This helps to create a positive cycle of development and empowerment, which ultimately benefit the whole community.
Ayesha Abed Foundation continues to provide a major portion of Aarong’s production needs and continues to grow as Aarong expands locally and globally.