Meeting with WFTO Asian

Yousaf is explaining the rug making process to Christine and Elise of WFTO Asia.
Yousaf is explaining the rug making process to Christine and Elise of WFTO Asia.
This morning Christine Gent and Elise Hawley from the World Fair Trade Organization (WFTO) Asia office in Chiang Mai, Thailand came to visit us at Bunyaad. Christine and Elise are in Pakistan to visit the one WFTO member in Pakistan (Habitat Integrated Pakistan (HIP)) and to possibly recruit new members.

In the past, Christine has done product design and development work for Ten Thousand Villages in Haiti and Sri Lanka. She contacted us via her Villages connection hoping to find potential new WFTO members in Pakistan. We explained Bunyaad’s work to Christine and Elise and showed them around the building.

Wajid rolling out rugs for Christine and Elise to view.
Wajid rolling out rugs for Christine and Elise to view.

Christine and Elise also presented information about WFTO and the new Fair Trade Guarantee System that certifies members as bona fide fair trade organizations. They encouraged us to consider membership in WFTO. Christine said that she thought Bunyaad could qualify for membership quite easily. However, we’re not sure that the benefits would outweigh the costs. We are already a member of the Fair Trade Federation (FTF) in the USA and feel like this is more than enough for Bunyaad at this point in time.

While showing our WFTO visitors around the Bunyaad building we observed a couple of customer rugs being repaired. These were rugs purchased by customers several years ago which were sent back to Pakistan for expert repair work. This exhibits the comprehensive customer care that Bunyaad offers to rug customers.

Repairing the fringe of a rug returned to Pakistan. After the repair is complete the customer will have a like-new rug.
Repairing the fringe of a rug returned to Pakistan. After the repair is complete the customer will have a like-new rug.
Precise and painstaking hand work is needed to repair the fringe of this rug.
Precise and painstaking hand work is needed to repair the fringe of this rug.

Close attention to detail is needed in order to produce top quality handmade rugs. Some of the rugs are a little bit ‘crooked’ when they are cut from the loom. In order to ensure that rugs are perfectly symmetrical and square they are carefully measured and then stretched into the correct shape, if necessary.

A Kazak rug is carefully measured and then nailed to the stretching platform before being stretched into the correct shape.
A Kazak rug is carefully measured and then nailed to the stretching platform before being stretched into the correct shape.

We had a good visit with Christine and Elise of WFTO Asia and learned a few new things about WFTO membership. Even though we will not join WFTO at this time, we will keep in touch and try to learn as much as possible from each other. In fact, the way that Bunyaad practices fair trade in Pakistan could be a good model for WFTO members to follow.

Stay tuned for Doug’s next trip post

We hope you’ve been enjoying the notes, experiences and photos and have been able to follow our adventures on the Bunyaad blog so far. Stay tuned for more.

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Here is a link to all of the posts: Read Pakistan Learning Tour


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