SHARE began in 1980, when Pushpika Freitas and Lalita Monteiro taught three women in Mumbai, India how to sew patchwork quilts by hand. Sewing was work they could do at home without having to pay for childcare or equipment. This small experiment quickly attracted attention—the slums of Mumbai are full of women who need to work, but face significant obstacles. They brought more women into the organization, and by 1983, there were seventy-five artisans working with the group.
In 1986, MarketPlace: Handwork of India was incorporated as a non-profit, to market the work of the Mumbai artisans—women’s apparel and home decor characterized by traditional Indian hand dyeing and embroidery. MarketPlace produced its first catalogue in 1990 and by 1992 SHARE was working with more than 120 artisans. That year, SHARE restructured the organization into multiple independent cooperatives. Today, SHARE works with over 450 artisans organized into fourteen cooperatives.