In the early 1980s, the Dutchman Bensalem B. and his partner, M.A. Bensale, bought a small shop in the Indian city of Pune.
A few years later, they opened a small wholesale workshop in Delhi.
They became known for their handicraft stocks, which they made by hand from cotton cloths or from old, used, or discarded cloths.
The work was done with the help of a machine called the peking machine, which was the precursor to modern machines.
In this hand-made stock, Bensaler and Bensales would make small cuts, cut out pieces, and apply a glue.
“We made the stocks on the spot,” Bensaling said.
“If we made the stock on time, we were able to keep the prices lower.
We would not make the stocks for more than one year.”
Bensalsalem would also often make a small batch of stock and sell it at a profit.
This meant that he could earn a small profit from his work.
The handicraft industry flourished.
But in the late 1980s and early 1990s, production in India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh fell off a cliff.
India’s economy shrank by more than 20 percent in the following five years, while production in Bangladesh was only 20 percent higher than it had been a decade earlier.
The decline was also driven by an increase in unemployment, which hit hard during the economic crisis.
Bangladesh’s textile mills were the last to close in 1997.
The industry in Bangladesh has since recovered and is thriving again.
“The market for handicraft goods has improved in Bangladesh, and that has made people’s lives easier,” Betsalem said.
But the stock he makes for his shop is not made by himself.
“My shop does not have a peking device, so I have to make it myself,” he said.
Betsale is still busy making his handicraft stock.
He sells it at wholesale prices, sometimes at a loss, and has even been making a small handful of the stocks.
He still makes about $5,000 a year in profit from the stock.
“I am really proud of what I do,” he says.
“It is a business that I can sustain for a long time.”
The next big jump in handicraft output is coming from India and Pakistan, where the trade between the two countries has expanded dramatically.
According to a report published last year by the World Bank, India’s handicraft exports grew at the fastest rate since World War II, in part because of increased demand from emerging markets.
The report estimates that there are more than 10 million handicraft producers in India and around 300 million in Pakistan.
“What’s happening in India is an example of how people can create a lot of wealth and create a job for themselves and their families,” said Rajiv Gupta, who heads the Asia program at the World Resources Institute, a non-profit organization based in Washington, D.C. “But the question is, how do we get there?”
India’s growth in handicaps production is also the fastest in the world.
In 2015, the country had about 60 million handicaps, up from around 50 million in 1980.
“India is a good example of what can happen when people come together,” Gupta said.
India, which has more than a million handicapped people, has become a destination for handicapped workers, who are increasingly drawn to the country’s booming textile industry.
In the last decade, the number of workers in handicap-related occupations grew from a little over 3 million in 1985 to more than 3 million today.
The demand for handicaps has risen rapidly as well.
The number of jobs in handicapped sectors in India has more recently doubled, from 3,000 in 2015 to 4,000 today, according to the Indian government’s statistics office.
But many of the new jobs in the industry are not made for people with disabilities.
Many of them are temporary, with no guarantee of permanent employment.
In India, a small group of professions are often designated handicraft occupations.
For example, an architect, a metal-working mechanic, and a doctor all have their own professions and some are part of a larger trade that includes such professions as civil engineers and plumbers.
In some cases, these professions have jobs that do not require a specific physical ability, such as the physical education classes for engineers.
“There are people who are very physically handicapped who are also in the professions,” Gupta explained.
“In fact, I would say the handicraft profession is a pretty high-skill profession.”
He said that in some cases these workers are hired on a freelance basis.
But because of a lack of jobs, they often become destitute.
Some of these workers have been living in dire poverty for decades.
Gupta said that it is time to start looking for a solution