Fair Trade Makes Every Day Women’s Day

When a rug has its last knots tied and is ready to come off of the loom, it is always time for celebration.
When a rug has its last knots tied and is ready to come off of the loom, it is always time for celebration.

One woman carries a carafe of chai
made with her water buffalo’s milk.
Another grabs more tea cups
from her home.

Artisans go to the local sweet market and grab their favorite mithai (sweets), maybe hot gulab jamun soaking up the sugary sweet cardamon syrup or to the local jalebi vendor who is busy lifting hot, orange mini funnel-cake-like rounds out of their copper pot of bubbling oil as the jalebi head to their own bath of heavenly syrup.

One woman carries a carafe of chai made with her water buffalo’s milk. Another grabs more tea cups from her home.

One woman carries a carafe of chai made with her water buffalo's milk. Another grabs more tea cups from her home.
Enjoying the sweets together.

It’s a celebration. The work of many many months is now done and another rug will soon be set to be knotted on their loom.

But when the first rug comes off of the loom in the new Bunyaad Training Centre in Jared, Pakistan, the celebration is one to journey to.

The finished rug is a 4'x6' Persian rug with over 500 knots per square inch but it's so much more.
The finished rug is a 4’x6′ Persian rug with over 500 knots per square inch but it’s so much more.

The Bunyaad Training Centre in Jared officially opened on July 3, 2015, with ten looms dedicated to teaching women in this remote mountainous region of Pakistan the art of rug knotting. After their training is complete, these women will be given a loom to work on in their home so that they can teach their husbands or brothers how to knot as well. The women who work at this Centre range in life stages from recently graduated from high school to mothering several children.

Jared is a region that was hard hit after the October 2006 earthquake. In addition to human loss, there was both wide-spread property destruction and the subsequent fleeing of many employers from this region. Bunyaad’s Training Centre now provides year-round employment for these families with plans to reach more women to be the learners and then the teachers for the community.

When the Centre’s supervisor called to announce the rug’s near completion, Bunyaad production manager Ehsan Chaman and accounts manager Afaq Mobin drove to Jared after work, spending almost all night on the road to make this nearly 16 hour trip from Lahore.

“They brought their children, their daughters especially, into the celebration,” said Ehsan. “They were proud to show what they had accomplished and from seeing their kids run in after school with their books in hand, we saw what these jobs meant to them and to the families.

As part of this special celebration, each woman who works in the Centre was given a set of rug graph jewelry that members of the Bunyaad US staff had hand crafted for them.
As part of this special celebration, each woman who works in the Centre was given a set of rug graph jewelry that members of the Bunyaad US staff had hand crafted for them.

“Although these women have never met the Bunyaad staff in the States, I could feel the bond that was developing just over a piece of jewelry. They were touched that people that they had never met were joining them in their celebration.”

And from the stories that we will now tell of their rug, the Centre and of a new hope in a region that is still rebuilding road by road, house by house, and now knot by knot, we know that all of you who believe in the transformative power of fair trade are also joining the celebration.

Check out two of our earlier stories from Jared:

On March 8 every year, the world celebrates International Women’s Day. But with fair trade, a relationship is built on equal opportunities, equal pay and renewed hope. This has us celebrating Women’s Day every day for every day in fair trade empowers a woman who in turns empowers her family who, in turn, develops the community.


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