Today we visited one of the 17 member organizations of FTG Nepal. It was so inspirational to see some of the artisans working right there in front of me.
The member was called Kumbeshwar Technical School (KTS). This organization started out in 1983 to help Nepal’s untouchable caste. It has been such a success that they now have schools for adults and children, an orphanage, a daycare for their artisans’ children, they sell their products fair trade to 13 different countries, and the products are gorgeous. It was so inspirational to see these women make the dye, dye the wool, roll the wool, weave the carpets, knit the accessories and sweaters all in front of us. Just incredible.
Then we visited another partner, New Sadle, which is located in Kopan, at the outskirts of Kathmandu 0n a mountain near a monastery. This organization has many programs and hires lepers, gives them medical attention, housing, jobs and takes care of their entire families. Once the lepers become too old to work, they are given the option to either live in the home or to buy their own plot of land in their village where New Sadle will build them a house. New Sadle even gives their children employment or if they prefer, pays for the schooling. As leprosy is nearly eradicated (about 50,000 lepers in Nepal now) they have begun to hire other people with disabilities and marginalized women. They also paid one man to rescue an entire family of indentured labourers who are now their employees.
Here are a few photos of the artisans and children from both organizations:
I realized after leaving that, though I may be a little sad at times here, and not totally in love with Kathmandu, here I am literally living the dream. I have dreamt of working for a development organization internationally in fair trade literally since childhood and that is exactly what I am doing. I am so, so lucky.