Friends Handicrafts works with 125 women in Kathmandu, Nepal to create contemporary products using traditional felting techniques. Co-founders and Directors Shanti and Nirjala were asked to share their thoughts on International Women’s Day:
We (Shanti and Nirjala) did not get an opportunity to increase our learning to an extensive area; we both wish to spread knowledge and education basically to the future women of this community. An education brings enlighten, knowledge, and culture in the society which is so essential in the present condition of the country to even start to improve from the condition it is in now. So we would like to provide every child (especially deprived) of today and future, an opportunity to get educated so that they can contribute towards the betterment of the nation as a whole. To reach to this goal we plan to serve the under privileged groups first. Friends Handicrafts has been providing free education to two children of an employee (who sadly is no more), but we aim to provide education to all the children of our Friends Handicrafts family.
Shanti and Nirjala also asked two Friends Handicrafts employees to share their experiences, hopes and what working with Friends Handicrafts has meant to them:
“I attended high school education but did not complete it. I have been associated with Friends Handicrafts for more than five years now. Before that I was unemployed. I used to stay at home and depend in my parents’ income. Now I am so accustomed to Friends Handicrafts working environment that I chose continue working here rather than to work in a co-operative organization that offered me a job. Now, I work as an in charge here. I am independent and can fulfill all my needs and also support my parents to accomplish household needs. I am contented with my achievement till date.
I respect all the buyers of Friends Handicrafts products. Because that contribution has uplifted not only my life but many of my colleagues who were in even worst conditions before. Also I request them to continue being loyal to the organization and also encourage others to be associated to Friends Handicrafts because this has been a help to a lot of hardworking women here in Nepal.
Thinking of the current situation of Nepalese women, I sincerely wish all of them gets working opportunity to be independent as I did.”
“I used to work in other organization before but they paid me very less. Then I joined Friends Handicrafts and it’s almost been three years now. I like working here and I earn much more than before. Now I have a better living condition than past. It has helped me a lot and I will continue this work as long as I can.
I am very inspired by Shanti and Nirjala didi (sisters). Even they started from scratch. If they can accomplish so much so can I, and all the women here. We just need support and help from rest of you.”