The Empowerment Henley
Nepal is famous for its mountains, toping the world at 8,850m at the summit of Everest. Yet everything else operates at a much lower level. Nepal is the second poorest country in Asia after Afghanistan, and a high percentage of its population is vulnerable to human exploitation.
- Made of 100% soft cotton jersey
- Charcoal with red accent features. Heather with blue accent features
- Water buffalo horn buttons are hand-carved and further help promote ethical employment in Kathmandu
- Made ethically by survivors of abuse, exploitation and discrimination
The Bryants and Fabers are Westerners that have found their home and purpose in Nepal. They are the leaders of Purnaa, an ethical garment manufacturer in Kathmandu with a mission to empower those most marginalized by society to fresh starts and fulfilled lives.
Purnaa is a social enterprise. It gauges its success by the lives it impacts, and all of its profits are reinvested to further the social mission of creating training and job opportunities for survivors of abuse, exploitation and those discriminated against. It is committed to the ethical and fair treatment of people, stopping human trafficking, slavery and labour exploitation.
Purnaa’s employees receive fair and living wages, literacy classes and job and life-skills training. Uncustomary for Nepal, employees receive a healthcare and employer-matched savings package. Purnaa facilitates scholarships through donor partnerships for employee children, empowering the next generation to become less vulnerable to exploitation and to break free from the cycle of poverty.
The resulting positive and collegial work environment is very much “not-a-sweatshop” facility. We were impressed by a sense of “one team” in which employees are often consulted in decisions. For example, we had to seek consent by each individual employee for the pictures we took during our visit. There is also a deep extended family atmosphere, with many employees sharing difficult backgrounds but now supporting each other along their personal growth path.
The Fabric of Humanity is therefore proud to team up with Purnaa in implementing our vision in Nepal, a developing country in need of support.
Nepal is the second poorest country in Asia after Afghanistan. That is not without a long list of reasons. The specter of its 10-year civil war that ended in 2006, the political instability that ensued, ongoing rampant corruption, difficult access to markets (exemplified by the just-lifted 5-month blockade at its border with India), make an environment that is barely conductive to business and investment.
And that is without considering the devastating 7.8 magnitude earthquake the country suffered on April 25th, 2015, that levelled almost half a million homes and affected 5.6 milion people.
It is no surprise then that 1 in 5 Nepalis have left the country to find work abroad, often in situations that make them extremely vulnerable to abuse, exploitation and bonded labour.
For those that remain, opportunities are few and far between. The average worker makes less than $4/day and unemployment is above 40%. Human exploitation, including sex trafficking, exists within its borders and, while pervasive, especially affects lower castes, people living with disease, certain religious groups and women — who are often treated as second-rate humans.
We were particularly disturbed to learn that Nepal is a major source of children subjected to sex trafficking. UNICEF estimates that 7,000 women and girls are trafficked to India alone every year. It is not uncommon for parents to regard “extra” children, particularly girls, as a liability. In some cases, parents sell their children. More commonly, parents or children are lured to “big city” opportunities that inevitably end under lock in brothels in cities like Kathmandu, Kolkata, Delhi or Mumbai.
Between 10 and 20% of the retail price is a donation. By purchasing this product, you help crowdfund and make the project you pick real.
Future for girls
Provide funding for a girl to attend school for a year
The Small World arranges for education scholarships for girls aged seven to fourteen. Purchases allocated to this project provide for a girl’s annual school fees, her school uniform, school bag, school shoes and stationary. It also provides her with two medical checkups a year. This is for girls who have parents, and a home, but the parents cannot afford to send their child to school.
Himalayan Hope Home
Provide a year’s scholarship for an orphan girl to attend a refuge home
The Small World’s Himalayan Hope Home is a home for 30 girls, all of them motherless or fatherless (deceased or missing). Orphan girls are the main target for traffickers as there is no one to care for them and they in most of the cases they are seeking an opportunity to escape the desperate situation they are in. Purchases allocated to this project fund one a full scholarship at the Himalayan Hope Home for one girl.
Employee trauma counselling
Provide 12 sessions of trauma-focused cognitive behavior therapy for one of your item's Makers.
Many Purnaa employees come from marginalized or exploited backgrounds and were denied the things needed for a healthy life. Purchases allocated to this project provide Purnaa’s Empowerment Fund the means to offer one of their employees the opportunity to attend 12 sessions of trauma-focused cognitive behavior therapy to improve their mental health following their complicated background.