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.
Sep 3, 2009

2008 Audit

For supporters of RugMark interested in knowing more about our 2008 financial statements, please feel free to browse through our recently completed audit.


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May 15, 2009

Faces of Freedom

Sunita
Sunita

Out of economic desperation, Sunita’s family sold her to a thekedar (broker) for the equivalent of $2.50. She was made to work 18 hours a day as a carpet weaver and domestic servant to pay off the “loan.” RugMark rescued her in 2005, and from then on Sunita began to live and study at the RugMark rehabilitation center. Now 12, she dreams of teaching Nepali and English.

In the time since RugMark’s founding in 1994, the number of children working as weavers in South Asia has been reduced from 1 million to 300,000. And while this is a great improvement, there is still much left to be done. Part of what makes child labor so intractable is its invisibility. RugMark endeavors to bring light to this issue through Faces of Freedom, the traveling photo exhibition. Co-sponsored by the U.S. Fund for UNICEF, Faces of Freedom is part of RugMark’s Most Beautiful Rug campaign to end exploitative child labor in the handmade rug industry.

In this collection of images, award winning photographer U. Roberto Romano brings consumers, interior designers and industry entrepreneurs into the hidden loom sheds in South Asia, showing them the poignant faces of bonded carpet weavers as well as those liberated from the looms by RugMark. The stories of Sunita and many others like her remind viewers of their impact on the lives of children across the world, and of the real life difference made by RugMark.

In February, the collection debuted in its first major public venue at the Senate Russell Building Rotunda, in conjunction with a standing-room-only event to honor Senator Harkin. The images have since appeared at the Minneapolis Children’s Theater, George Washington University, and Robin Gray Design, among other venues, bringing the estimated total number of viewers to date to nearly 13,000, not including online viewers totaling over 3,000.

Over the next several months the exhibition will reach thousands more viewers as it travels all over the U.S.; the tour will be highlighted by a month-long display at UNICEF House in New York City. We welcome you to view the full image collection and tour schedule online at www.FacesofFreedom.RugMark.org.

Your support makes it possible for RugMark to share the stories of these “carpet kids,” underscoring the opportunity for each of us to make meaningful difference by choosing child-labor-free. With every ethical RugMark certified purchase, resources are being redirected back to impoverished weaving communities in South Asia, educating thousands of children and sending an important. Thank you for your help in bringing children from carpet looms to classrooms.

Please share your thoughts on this update in our comments section!

Feb 4, 2009

RugMark Offers Hope to Former Carpet Slaves In 2008 RugMark inspectors in India and Nepal rescued a

In 2008 RugMark inspectors in India and Nepal rescued and rehabilitated over 116 enslaved child carpet weavers, bringing the number of rescued children to over 3,200 since RugMark’s founding. Every single child is offered an opportunity to reunite with their families and to get an education. RugMark ensures that students have the necessary financial and social support to stay in the classroom and off the carpet looms.

Nina Smith, RugMark USA’s Executive Director, recently returned from a trip to India and Nepal where she visited RugMark’s schools and was able to talk with many of the former child laborers and children of adult weavers who are studying with RugMark’s support. Laxmi Shresta was one such student. A RugMark inspector rescued her from a carpet factory at the age of six and she has since flourished as a student in Nepal. Now 18, Laxmi is the pride of her family, studying hotel management, speaking fluent English and offering hope to her mother and three sisters. Her family can barely scrape together the 1,500 rupees (equivalent to $20) to rent one dilapidated room for their home. Laxmi’s education will break the cycle of extreme poverty that has kept her family living on the edge. Laxmi's mother said that "RugMark is Laxmi's second family". RugMark continues to offer hope of a better future to more children like Laxmi each year.

While much progress has been made in Nepal and India, the number of children rescued from factories and enrolled in school remains directly connected to how many companies and consumers in rug purchasing countries, such as the United States, care about the issue. RugMark USA recently launched a travelling photo exhibition, Faces of Freedom, in order to drive home this message. A collection of 50 images captured by photo documentarian and filmmaker U. Roberto Romano, the exhibition takes you behind the looms and inside the carpet factories of South Asia. The photos also connect you to the positive, real-life difference made by RugMark and its partners.

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