The Dharma Door Book Bags, Hessian Sacks and Buckets, Sari Hearts, Hessian Shoppers and Wrapping Paper are handcrafted by artisans working for a Fair Trade organisation in northern Bangladesh. They specialise in screen-printing and sewing.
This non-profit Fair Trade organisation began in 1991 as a project to help women living below the poverty line with employment by producing jute handicrafts. They also provide literacy classes, training on nutrition, women’s legal rights, educational awareness, leadership skills and finance. At the annual AGM each artisan is given a bonus and a gift such as a mobile phone or new cooking pots as a reward for her ongoing commitment to the organisation. There are also medical benefits and a savings scheme for artisans, providing the opportunity to take a loan to build a house, purchase land, and send their children for higher education.
As well as providing life-changing employment to over 170 women, for the past five years this organisation has worked with local schools to coordinate a school uniform, stationery and bag distribution project. This ensures every child has a chance to receive an education. At the beginning of each year school teachers and community leaders select the poorest children to be the recipients. 2% of total sales from this organisation are gifted towards this project, which started in 2007 and this year 600 students will benefit from the project.
The Dharma Door has had the pleasure of working with this group since 2008 and we continue to design new products in an effort to extend our support and expand our range.