AP and NEFAD are seeking $3,000 to relaunch a bag business in Nepal. Twenty-five women who lost relatives in the civil war have launched a cooperative to make tiger bags, led by Sarita (top photo.) Although they have suspended work during the pandemic, they plan to take advantage of the lock-down to rent a new shop near home, increase production, and explore online sales. They will emerge from the crisis with a new strategy for marketing bags and demanding justice for their lost relatives.
All 25 artists in the cooperative have relatives who were victims of enforced disappearances during Nepal's civil war. The women are now looking to secure justice, as well as a stable income and strong support system. Although they have launched a promising business making tiger bags, the COVID-19 crisis prevents the women from working together and increasing their inventory. This has deprived them of not only critical incomes but also psychological support from their co-artists.
The women see the COVID crisis as an opportunity to strengthen the cooperative by producing more tiger bags and exploring new markets. By partnering remotely with Peace Fellow Beth and the AP team, the women will use donations to rent a new shop closer to home, create cohesive branding and promote bags online through the AP and NEFAD websites. Additionally, the women will expand their market by seeking out new virtual networks with craft stores in Kathmandu and wildlife conservation groups.
This response to an unexpected crisis will enable the women to be self-sustaining. A new shop will allow the women to meet more often, reinforcing personal ties created by the cooperative. An expertise of remote advocacy and marketing created during unusual operations will increase their sales of bags and connect them to other environmental groups. As restrictions ease, the women will have expanded their inventory and created strong partnerships to sell bags in Kathmandu and abroad.