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Every purchase improves the lives of the makers by supporting their craft and a fair, stable income. Become part of the story.
Buy a gift with a meaning.
- WOVEN -
The story behind the WOVEN products actually consists of two stories. Most of its fabric used in the WOVEN products is handwoven by the women of WSDO, while the manufacturing of these bags happens at WOVEN. In this process, from washing and dyeing of the cotton to the finishing of the bag, many different women are involved, from both WSDO and WOVEN.
Because WSDO and WOVEN are different in way of working and the women are different, I gave WSDO and WOVEN their own attention. Together they make the story behind the WOVEN products.
Woven is a private company, started by Anup Khadka. Anup is the son of Ram Khali Khadka, which is the founder and director of Women's Skills Development Organization (read more about WSDO here). Anup grew up around the Fair Trade organization, which became his roots. Being around this organization for 10-12 years, he learned a lot.
In 2015 he decided to start his own private company, with a new brand named Woven. His aim was to create different kind of products and also to create more job opportunities for women. WSDO is a large organization, but with the number of women applying at WSDO, WSDO wasn't always able to give them work.
Woven uses the handwoven fabric made by the women of WSDO and combines this with other nettle fabric from local producers in village areas and suede leather to make the Woven bags. Woven does support WSDO through the purchase of the handwoven fabric, on which there is certainly an increase in demand since the start of Woven. In this way, more job opportunities are created.
Even though Woven is not a Fair Trade organization, they strive to follow the same principles and offer comparable job facilities. The main focus of Anup is to create beautiful quality products while empowering women, having good working conditions.
In 2015 Woven was started with only three women, whereas now 25 women are working, ranging between 18 and 45 years old.
The women work a standard of 8 hours a day. Some of the women live close by the office, and if they wish to, they can choose to work a bit longer each day, to earn more.
If the producers are treated well, and they are happy, you directly get a better quality product.
- Anup Khadka -
The women are paid piecewise, and fair wages are paid above the minimum wage scale in Nepal. The amount of the salary depends as well on the experience and skills of the women.
In the future, Anup Khadka aspires to provide paid maternity leave, health insurance for producers, and some holiday expenses.
One of the goals is to bring Woven products towards other countries as well, outside of Nepal.
Anup Khadka: I don't think it is necessary to be labeled Fair Trade. I don't think a tag should recognize the product. We use the same principles; we focus on empowering women and good working conditions. Most important is not the tag, but to go and look at what is the story behind a product.
We focus on the quality of a product, over quantity, and no mass production. One product goes through the hands of around 10-12 women before it's finished. The making of one product takes a very long time, as it is all handmade. I can try to explain... but I think someone needs to visit to see the real story.
My name is Bimala Sunar. I am 30 years old. My family lives in Chorepatan currently. My mother, father, and my husband are the members of my family. I was born in Krishi, in Pokhara. Now, I live with my family in Chorepatan from where I also go to work.
I wake up early in the morning. At 9 am, I have my lunch and come to work. We work throughout the day. At 5 pm, we finish our work and go back home. Since my place is quite far, I usually reach home around 6 pm. I get back to my household chores.
I really like coming to work and spending my day here together with all my colleague sisters. I hope that we can continue working here and that I can further enhance my skills, and all grow further. We can be self-reliant and make our earning through the skills that we have learned at Woven. I am also hopeful that there will be other opportunities here at Woven.
There are times when the work is easy, and everyone around me is in a happy mood smiling, and seeing all this automatically sparks happiness inside me. At home, we have our regular household chores, and spending 9 to 5 at work is mostly a happy time with all colleagues.
I think I am quite capable as I do not have to depend on others for my living. I don’t think I will have to depend on others in the days to come ahead too.
There is a huge difference between women from the village area and women from the cities. Women from the city get to learn a lot of skills and also have the opportunity to utilize it, whereas, in the rural area, we don’t have such opportunities and remain jobless. There aren’t many organizations in rural areas, and rural women can’t make any use of their skills. I think this is the major difference.
I would suggest to young people to get training in skills, to become self-reliant. One needs to learn the skills and work to make their earning and living. Here at Woven, we have uplifted our life by learning the skills so that I would suggest the same to others as well.
I think women need to be provided with more training, and also Nepal government should also focus on making women more self-reliant.
Working here it helped me to be self-reliant, helping me stand on my own feet.
My name is Sita Koirala. I am 30 years old. It has been four years working here.
We have six people in our family. I have two daughters; we live in a joint family. We also have grand-father and grand-mother in our family.
I was born in India, grew up there, and studied there.
Once my father retired, he wanted to go back to Nepal with his family. As the time came, we all migrated to Nepal from India.
Now, I live here at Ratna Chowk in Pokhara, which is around 30 minutes by foot to the office.
I have twin daughters. They are nine years old now. They both study in grade 4. Both of them are doing good in their studies.
I get up at 5 am. First of all, I take a bath and then clean my house. I then make food and wake my kids up. I provide them breakfast. I get my other household chores done during which my kids study and do their homework. At around 8.30 or 9 am, I send my kids to school. After that, I get ready for work and serve food to my husband and other family members.
I then work at the office until 5 pm. When I reach home, I make snacks for my family, and I help my kids with their homework. I then do other household chores. At around 8, we have our dinner.
The time of day I like the most? Once I get back home from work and spend my time with my daughters, I like it the most. All of us share our stories from the day which we spend like 30 min to 1 hour. I really enjoy this moment.
I enjoy doing this work, and it has been beneficial to me. I want to continue supporting my kids and encouraging them to grow into beautiful people. I think most of my dreams are focused on my children.
I have full faith in myself that I can carry on the works, that is what I call my biggest motivation power.
My name is Shanti Kumal, and I am 35 years old. I live here at lakeside Pokhara with my husband and daughter, while my hometown is in Chitwan. My husband works at the WSDO. My daughter is ten years old and studies in grade 5.
I wake up early in the morning and prepare food for my family. From 9 am till 5 pm I am at work. Once I get home, I do my household chores.
The most enjoyable part of my day is from 9 to 5, where I spend my day working. My dream is to be an expert in my cutting work, and I also wish I could learn to design in the years to come.
I believe that I have been self-confident in doing my jobs here of cutting. I can stand on my own feet and work independently.
To all the sisters who are new and joining, I would like to let them know that working here in Nepal is much better. There are still many jobless people, and I would like to let them know that by learning specific skills, they can be self-reliant to make their income without having to rely on other people. With this, no one can question us about skills and income in life.
To all the Nepalese sisters, I request them to make their living by self-earning. Some people have gone to foreign countries to work with meager income and more sorrows. There are many companies here in Nepal, too, where we haven’t been able to take full benefit from it. We work from 9 to 5 and also get to learn the skills.
We can let our people know about these sorts of opportunities for our people. As we know that, without hard work, we cannot expect fruits, thus in the same way wherever we go, we need to work. Rather than working in another country, to work from 9 to 5 and also learn skills here is much more beneficial, in my opinion.
We have seen many cases where our Nepali sisters have been victims of labor cases and many other cases. It is better to stay in our own country and work here. This company focuses on working with export goods, and this is also quite a nice job. I want to tell all my sisters that staying in our own country we can contribute something and work here too. Thank you!
My name is Monika Rai and I am 25 years old. It has been almost four years working here at Woven.
I have a father, mother, and elder sisters, a younger sister, and a younger brother in my family. I come from Bhojpur and currently live together with my younger sister in Pokhara. My sister and I both work at the company. My parents still live in Bhojpur. To get to Bhojpur it takes around 13 hours of travel by bus and 4 hours walk.
I wake up lazily at around 7 am. I freshen up and then directly come to work. I start my work, and at about 12, I have my lunch. The same work continues, and I work until evening. I also work overtime, like 2 to 3 hours extra, to earn some more money. I live very close to the office.
Working here, along with my colleagues, is something I enjoy.
Working at Woven is pretty satisfactory as of now. I would like to learn new things in life and move ahead. I am also interested in teaching and sharing my skills with the newcomer sisters and would like to move forward in life.
I would like to continue working here and enhance my skills further for my growth ahead. With this, I can always make my living anywhere I go.
In the village there is a lack of facilities; therefore, life is very different. In the village, there are schools, but it lacks quality education. In the city, there are more opportunities and more chances to learn skills to be self-reliant. In the village, there are no such opportunities to learn any technical skills.
Most of the women are very backward in many things. I would like to say to women to gain more technical skills as possible. Try to move forward and learn new things.
For the women who are getting an education, I hope they could achieve something from their knowledge. For working women, learn technical skills and move forward so that they don't need to be dependent on others and can live independently.
Woven is located in Pokhara Lakeside, Nepal. From Kathmandu it's a windy busride of approximately 7-8 hours.