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 31, 2009

GoodWeave Certification Launches in 2010

A Collage of Children
A Collage of Children's Art by Rescued Child Weavers

With the support of our dedicated family of supporters and industry partners, we are transforming the US market to bring us nearer to the end of child labor in the South Asian handmade rug industry.

In 2009, we increased U.S. market share for rugs certified by us to have been made without illegal child labor from 3.2 to 4.2 percent. This 30 percent growth stands in encouraging contrast to the overall 41 percent decline in the U.S. market. This economically difficult year has proven the motivating strength of our certification, and reinforced our belief that consumers will make ethical choices in their purchasing when given information and opportunity.

Also in 2009, 14 locations welcomed our Faces of Freedom photograph exhibition, co-sponsored by the US Fund for UNICEF, and featuring images by renowned photographer and humanitarian U. Roberto Romano. The installations were visited by 18,000 attendees, with 10,000 on-line viewers to date. The tour culminated with year-end installations at the Miami International Airport and the World Bank, with introductory remarks by University of Miami President Donna Shalala and Nepal's Ambassador Shankar Sharma, respectively.

Our transformative effect on the market is preventing children from being exploited. In addition, we provide direct assistance on the ground. In 2009, our inspectors in Nepal rescued 83 child laborers from carpet looms, and 3,400 emancipated and at-risk children are enrolled in school under our educational sponsorships.

In 2010, our new GoodWeave certification launches, with a renewed outreach campaign: The GoodWeave Campaign to End Child Labor. Our GlobalGiving project will shortly be revised to reflect this reinvigorated campaign, and the expanded impact for which GoodWeave brings promise. Soon, in addition to providing your best assurance that a handmade rug is child-labor-free, the GoodWeave certification will include other humanitarian and environmental criteria, from living wages for of-age workers to environmental benchmarks for waste products.

We are also shifting the GlobalGiving country categorization to Nepal, where we inspect 50 percent of carpet production facilities, in order for donors and other interested individuals to readily find us. Our work in Nepal was recently exemplified by a visit paid to our Kathmandu rehabilitation center for rescued child weavers by the principal of Creative Matters, one of our devoted industry partners.

She spent a sunny afternoon on the center’s rooftop, teaching a painting class to 33 of our children. As she describes:

"I instructed them to paint themselves in a setting that they liked and, WOW, the results were amazing…One boy painted the RugMark house that they all currently live in, with him on the roof flying a kite…Gorgeous work. And they were so proud of themselves. I couldn't take enough pictures of them holding their artworks. It was absolutely lovely."

Photographs of these incredible children and their works of art are attached. In 2010 and beyond, we hope to do even more for them--and for the 250,000 remaining child laborers in South Asia's carpet industry.

A Child Models for Friends
A Child Models for Friends
Self-Portrait
Self-Portrait
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.


Attachments:
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!

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