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.
—Rug Event Coordinator, Bunyaad
—Public Relations Specialist, Bunyaad
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.
—Rug Rep, Bunyaad
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.
—Director of Operations, Bunyaad
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.
—Online Marketing, Bunyaad
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.
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.