GoodWeave USA

GoodWeave's mission is to end exploitative child labor in the carpet industry and to offer educational opportunities to children in weaving communities. The GoodWeave label is your best assurance that no child labor was used in the manufacture of a rug. The organization was founded on this premise: If enough people demand certified child-labor-free rugs, manufacturers will only employ adult artisans and the exploitation of children in the industry will end.
Dec 17, 2010

Reflections on the past year, through the eyes of Kusum

Kusum, in her school uniform
Kusum, in her school uniform

By early 2009, 12-year-old Kusum had already been working four years at the carpet looms near Kathmandu, Nepal, following in the paths of her two older sisters. All three of them, in fact, had been sold by their alcoholic father to labor brokers – Kusum was worth only $14 to her father. Besides being separated from her sisters, Kusum grew up without her mother, who died as a result of her father’s violence.

Kusum endured the harsh conditions of the carpet factory, toiling hour upon hour, day after day, with little hope that anything would ever change. But on March 9, 2009, it finally did. A GoodWeave inspector found her, rescued her, and brought her to a GoodWeave rehabilitation center.


Today, Kusum is 13 years old. She has started school, and spends her days studying, playing and talking with children her own age. For the first time in her life, Kusum is happy. 

In a recent report from Bahadure, a GoodWeave factory inspector in Nepal, he talks about how individual children like Kusum are helped through rehabilitation and schooling:

“At first, when they were brought to Hamro Ghar (Our Home - the GoodWeave rehabilitation center), most of them were shy, frightened, and physically weak due to the exploitation... they have become confident, recouped their energies and spirit, and now speak and interact without hesitations and fear. They find ways and opportunities to bring out their hidden talents and show the world they are no less than children from rich families.”

GoodWeave is proud of Kusum and the courage and confidence she has developing since her rescue almost two years ago. In the below video, Kusum tells part of her story in her own words.

Links:

Sep 1, 2010

A story and a song from Prem, Kathmandu, Nepal

Prem, Kathmandu, Nepal
Prem, Kathmandu, Nepal

GoodWeave USA Executive Director Nina Smith from a two-week field visit to the Kathmandu Valley in Nepal, where she visited our local partners and caught up with dozens of GoodWeave children in day care, residential rehabilitation, and inschool. One of them, Prem, sang to us in a voice that was bold and resonant – a video of his singing can be viewed on our YouTube page, linked below – and shared his story:

Prem is in the 10th grade at Nepal’s prestigious Laboratory School under our sponsorship. A friendly, outgoing, and charismatic teenager, you’d never guess that six years ago Prem was toiling at a Kathmandu carpet loom, far from his family in rural Nepal.

Rescued at just nine years old by GoodWeave inspectors, Prem made up for stolen years of basic education at our residential rehabilitation center. Next, he enrolled at the Lab School, where he now studies accounting and economics. He’s his class captain, helping maintain a peaceful environment by solving problems with his classmates. He told us he likes soccer, basketball, and poetry. And he said this: “If GoodWeave weren’t there, we’d still be in the carpet factory”.

Links:

May 12, 2010

GoodWeave Board Members Visit Nepal

Happy Children, Learning and Playing
Happy Children, Learning and Playing

As I approached the looms, the woman nearest to me scooted over and patted the bench next to her for me to sit down. All day I'd been wanting to try to do the weaving myself. Without aid of a common language, my new friend very patiently showed me how to do the carpet weaver's knot. This kinship, this connection with textile artisans from around the world, is a wonderful feeling. It reaches back through the centuries, binds us together in the present, and will flow through us to future generations.

In early February, I journeyed to Nepal with fellow board member and weaver Mary Zicafoose to witness the good work of GoodWeave programs firsthand. Our first stop was GoodWeave's Kathmandu rehabilitation center for rescued child weavers. A boarding school with space for about 100 girls and boys, the center is bright and sunny, with a large play yard, bunkrooms for sleeping, a kitchen, three classrooms, and a computer lab. There are about 45 children enrolled, and all were concentrating hard on their studies.

The next visit was to a GoodWeave-sponsored daycare center for children aged two to five whose parents work in nearby carpet factories. From the two-year-olds cuddled asleep on large mats for naptime to older children seated at bright child-sized tables, this was a cheerful place full of smiling kids. The finger puppets Mary distributed to the children were met with squeals of delight.

We also visited The Lab School, one of Nepal's top private boarding schools. Some 15 former child weavers, rescued from carpet factories when they were young and sponsored by GoodWeave ever since, currently attend this elite boarding school. The Lab School admits "GoodWeave kids" who meet its academic rigor, and provides them with a scholarship co-funded by GoodWeave. These teenagers were polite, well-spoken, and extremely appreciative. After much conversation and photo opportunities, one of the boys asked to sing a Nepali folk song for us. His voice-sweet, and clear and strong-rang out as his classmates listened in respectful silence.

As weavers and dyers ourselves, we were eager to see carpets being made. We visited several GoodWeave-licensed facilities, like the one referenced in the first paragraph, all of which are routinely inspected by GoodWeave and are staffed only by of-age workers.

Carpet weaving is an art form, worked by artisans. It is a crime and a shame that for so long children have been exploited by unscrupulous producers in this field. But, thanks to GoodWeave, this is changing. Having witnessed this transformation for ourselves, and having seen so many happy, healthy children in GoodWeave social programs, our dedication as directors is redoubled. We couldn't more proud.

Having Fun with Finger Puppets
Having Fun with Finger Puppets

Links:

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