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Here's to strong women,
May we know them,
May we be them,
May we raise them.
Since 2016 I have been working together with Manushi.
Manushi is a Fair Trade organization, recognized by the WFTO (World Fair Trade Organization). They focus on the improvement of the economic conditions of poor, disadvantaged, and marginalized producers, primarily women, through sustainable development.
Manushi provides skill training, management training focuses on entrepreneurship development, and works with microfinancing projects.
Manushi initially established in 1991 as a non-profit/ Non-government organization to promote traditional Nepali arts and crafts. Manushi has grown into a Fair Trade leader through the diversification of its activities, incorporating management and skill training with entrepreneurship development and microfinancing.
Manushi primarily focuses on female producers, in Kathmandu Valley. They create opportunities for different producers ensuring safe and healthy working conditions and minimizing the environmental consequences while remaining transparent.
The MuniMuni Tie Dye products are made by a small group of women who work at Manushi. This group of women is specialized in the making of the most beautiful tie-dye patterns using the various tying techniques. Many of the tie-dye products are made with natural dye, which the women prepare and mix themselves.
The women are skilled, have a decent income and are financially independent. When I asked several women what they were spending most of their money, a quick answer follows "our kids." Some of these women have been working at Manushi for over 20 years!
Long before the '70s, Tie Dye was known as Shibori, a Japanese term that comprises of a wide variety of "resist-dyeing" techniques, which have been used by different cultures for over 6000 years.
The results are patterns that can be either geometric, random or combinations of those. Nowadays, tie-dye represents a design of color made by preventing the dye from reaching some areas of the fabric while dyeing others. The material is prepared before dyeing by folding, tying, stitching the fabric, which restricts the dye from going to specific areas in the fabric.
In many households, people at least once or twice created their own tie-dye t-shirt. Often the outcome is a great surprise and location of the color quite random. I write "often"... maybe not in your case ;).
With the years of experience, these women have with tying and dyeing; the end result can be better predicted and controlled to an amazing extent. Though with tie-dye, the end-result always remains a surprise and makes it an interesting form of art.
The women at Manushi combine the tie-dye with the use of natural dyes, which makes it even more difficult to predict the outcome as more factors are influencing the result.
Since 2002, Manushi has been actively involved in micro-crediting, providing loans to the poor, and encouraging micro-enterprise development. The loans provide women the opportunity to invest in their skills to build a means of earning an independent living and improve their social, economic status, both at home and in the community.
Loans are distributed to women within a group network that encourages and maintains a high level of repayment, consistent communication, and reliable support. The program is made up of over 5000 women groups with over 26,000 members. The lending efforts are currently focused in four prominent districts of Nepal: Kathmandu, Dolakha, Sindupalchowk & Nuwakot.
I'm very proud and happy to sell these beautiful tie-dye products made by the women of Manushi. It was such a pleasure to work together with them working on the new designs, refining the samples and being there seeing the result of their fine work. These women are skilled artists! It's always a pleasure walking into their workshop and look forward seeing them again soon!