Yousaf Chaman

Director, Bunyaad

A native of Lahore, Pakistan, Yousaf grew up with first hand knowledge of Oriental rug production and has seen the difference that fair trade makes in the lives of artisans. He spent many years in Lahore working with the artisan group in Pakistan learning first hand about the ancient art of Oriental rugs.

A business and economics graduate of Punjab University, Lahore, Pakistan, Yousaf brings his passion for the artisans of Pakistan and his heart for social justice to the sales floor as he shares about how fair trade empowers both women and men in the villages of Pakistan. Yousaf is fluent in Urdu, English, Punjabi and sign language and gives frequent seminars on how fair trade in Pakistan is impacting global relations and laying the building blocks for peace. He is an articulate speaker passionate about his work and delights crowds with his knowledge of Oriental rugs and the people and culture of Pakistan.

I guess you could say he tied the knot with his co-worker Jenni Leister in 2003 and together they parent their young son who deems it more fun to play among the rug piles both in Ephrata, PA, and Lahore than play at the park. He also fills the food and water bowl of the Bunyaad “Director of Stain Resistancy” named Amanda, a well-mannered black poodle with great skills of not making too many messes on carpets… most times! His favorite non-rug-flipping past-times include playing cricket with his son Nouraiz, cooking up something creative with the weekly CSA and traveling to see friends and family near and far.

Nancy Chapman

Rug Event Coordinator, Bunyaad

Nancy Chapman
I have been active in weaving for a long time, with my first loom given to me for Christmas by my parents. With it I wove little runners and rugs for my doll houses. After going to college for Anthropology and Archaeology, ancient textiles, how they were made and used captivated me. In between time, I had a weaving business called the Weaving Way, worked with children with disabilities, worked with Mennonite Central Committee and along with my husband raised our family. And now I work here in the rug room, surrounded by the awesome rugs and loving it. And as I tell customers, our rugs have been through two cats, two dogs and two boys and look great. Fair trade is the foundation upon which these rugs are made and to see what a difference it makes in the lives of the artisans in Pakistan is amazing.

Doug Dirks

Public Relations Specialist, Bunyaad

Doug Dirks

Doug Dirks has developed relationships with many artisans in developing countries, including Bunyaad artisans in Pakistan, during his more than 25 years of working in fair trade. In the early 1980s, Doug served for three years as Job Creation Administrator for Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) in Bangladesh. After returning from Bangladesh, Doug joined Ten Thousand Villages and worked in a number of roles both in Canada and the USA, before joining Bunyaad in February 2015.

Doug has traveled to visit artisans in more than 30 countries. His travels have enabled him to collect many personal artisan stories showing how fair trade sales through Bunyaad and Ten Thousand Villages have positively affected the lives of artisans, their families and their communities.

Doug is a graduate of the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada. He is married to Joanne and they have three adult children and one grandson.

Jesse Gehman

Rug Rep, Bunyaad

Jesse Gehman
I grew up in a family in Lancaster County that was very much involved in Healthcare. This shaped my future involvements and I continued that pathway in New York, completing two rewarding careers in some of the more technical aspects of Healthcare along with a management track. In the Healthcare field, persons cater to daily life and well being of, in my case, hospital patients.

Obtaining a job at the other end of the spectrum but keeping with the same philosophy has again been rewarding. To be able to facilitate a welcoming environment for super talented rug artisans and their families is the ultimate. The fair trade philosophy interwoven into the rug makers’ daily lives has really affected their standard of living and that of the villages of which they are a part. This relationship is long term and we endeavor to continue these relationships for their benefit.

Jenni Leister

Director of Operations, Bunyaad

I am simply a woman wanting my work each day to benefit other women so that they can feel empowered. A woman cannot focus on protecting her rights if she doesn’t have enough money to care for herself and her family. Nothing energizes me more than seeing the difference a woman earning a living wage makes for both her and her family. For me, there is no better way to do this than working with Bunyaad, with over 850 artisan families throughout 100 villages in Pakistan. From flipping rugs and loading trucks to working on promotional pieces to getting to know artisans in their village homes, my job is diverse and it is never dull.

I’ve been working with these rugs since 1993. I married my co-worker (I guess you could say we tied the knot) and our son is more excited to come to the rug room to help roll and move rugs than he is when we head to the playground. Our poodle doubles as our Director of Stain Resistancy and excels at her job.

Heike Martin

Online Marketing, Bunyaad

Heike Martin

When the first “Eine Welt Laden” (One World Market) opened in my hometown Neuwied, Germany in 1980 I was hooked on Fair Trade. Working with artisans around the world in a way that fosters relationships, treats everyone involved with respect and gives hope in the midst of difficult circumstances is the only way I want to do business. Telling stories through pictures is just one way for me to be involved with Bunyaad.

I enjoy capturing the world around me with my camera from family events to bees pollinating to intricate snow patterns. My husband Bruce and our two adult sons and their families share a love for cooking delicious dinners with organic produce fresh from our extensive garden.

Wanessa Melo

Accountant, Bunyaad

Wanessa Melo
I live in Lancaster County with my husband and my super cute and loving daughter. I’m from Curitiba, Brazil and moved in 2006 to the U.S. From a 2 million people city to a little gorgeous city in Lancaster County, I’m still fascinated with the Amish old-fashioned lifestyle.

My love for fair trade started in 2000 when I came to the U.S. as a volunteer for Mennonite Central Committee. At that time I realized how important it was to invest in peoples lives, empower families to get fair prices and good conditions for what they do for living.

I’m enjoying more and more learning the ethical side of life and supporting families through my job as well.