An update from Manushi after the devastating 7.8 magnitude earthquake on 25 April:
Wednesday 29 April 2015
Although we have not made direct contact with Manushi - another producer partner of ours Mahaguthi have confirmed that they are all ok.
Manushi is a non-profit and non-governmental organisation that was established in 1991. The aim of this organisation has been to promote the poor, disadvantaged and marginalised women and men in Nepal through their traditional arts and crafts. The organisation has now grown and diversified its activities. These activities incorporate management and skill training, entrepreneurship development, micro-credit for women, health & environment, and gender concerns directly impacting on women's empowerment and community development.Manushi is a founding member the Fair Trade Group Nepal. Their goal is to enhance the social and economic status of women and marginalised people of Nepal, to put them in the forefront of human development, through the fair trade production and marketing. Manushi has now benefited about 300 producers, 80 percent of whom are women, and has also endeavoured to revive several of the almost extinct traditional crafts across the country by encouraging communities to resume production for various traditional activities such as dye production, use of weaving methods and traditional patterns.
The organisation also supports eco-friendly development and sustainable resource, manushi manufacturingmanagement with the use of natural dyes on cotton textiles and renewable natural resources, including Allo/Hemp, Lokta paper and bamboo products.manushiKabita Gurung is now 31 years old and has been working at Manushi since its founding in 1991, when she was only 16. She comes from a family with 2 younger sisters and one younger brother from the Eastern part of Nepal. At age 6, she was moved to Kathmandu to live with her aging grandmother and help with the housework. She attended school until Grade 10 and learned to read and write.In 1991, Manushi offered a 15-day training on basic tie-dye skills, and 12 people attended including Kabita.Following this, she started to work full-time for Manushi mainly tying fabric but slowly learning to stitch and make patterns. At the beginning they had many problems with quality of colors which often would fade or run on the fabric. They got help from a master from India who would do the dying using synthetic colors. For the past 10 years, Manushi has also been using natural dyes and Kabita has learned to dye fabric using these colours and is now in charge of 20 workers in her unit. She trains and supervises their work to ensure high quality tie-dyed fabric is produced.When she started, Kabita used to make 600 NRs per month but now she has a net income of 5 300 NRs. On top of this, 10% of her wages is put in a provident fund, and Manushi also contributes the same amount. She also benefits from a festival allowance plus health insurance and transportation allowance. She feels lucky to have full-time work and good benefits with Manushi and hopes one day to become a Dye Master.