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NORTH WEST BANGLADESH
ARTISAN SKILL: FABRIC WEAVING AND HAND EMBROIDERY
An ethical business program for marginalised and vulnerable women in the rural village of Thanapara.
A vocational business program was one of the initiatives set up by a Swedish NGO following a devastating massacre in 1971, when the Pakistani Army invaded local villages killing over 100 unarmed men. Their mission is to empower the poor and underprivileged female population by eradicating illiteracy, creating health awareness and self-employment, raising awareness among the landless for the rights of land and empowering women by creating economic and social awareness. The women that Swallows work with come from different backgrounds. They are economically very marginalised, divorced, widowed, from ethnic communities. Our team visits the facility regularly and we have a close relationship with the program manager, Santo, who has been running the program since taking over from his father in law in 2010.
A community health centre and schooling for 1,000 local children is provided by the NGO alongside the business program which teaches vulnerable local women traditional textile techniques such as hand-weaving, sewing and embroidery.
With these skills they are able to create products with which they can start to generate an income, build their confidence and gain independence. The program employs over 125 permanent artisans who produce textile products using local materials and organic, naturally dyed hand spun cotton.
By incorporating embroidery and weaving into Beulah’s collections, we help to sustain the traditional skills of these women artisans, providing them with regular work and a sustained income and help. Examples of their beautiful work are seen across our collection, below. Each product has been hand loomed from 100% linen, and the fabric has been hand embroidered onto.