On our 9th learning journey the Remake team headed to Nepal to visit the people behind “Made in Nepal”. From factories to makers homes, we sat down and got to know the people who craft our clothes and carpets. Here are some of the #humansoffashion who touched our hearts:
“I grew up in a village and did not have the opportunity to go to school. We would farm, collect firewood and cut grass for cattle. We barely had any money or possessions. When I had a daughter, I decided she would have a different life, a good education. So I moved to Kathmandu where there’s more opportunity.
In Kathmandu I did intense back-breaking construction work before I found a GoodWeave certified factory. Working here I’ve managed to keep both my son and daughter in school. My son is very naughty, always stirring trouble. He wants to be a doctor and loves Taekwondo. My daughter is wise beyond her years.”
“I was born in central Nepal in a town called Tulasi. Living there we often did not have enough food. Some days we didn’t eat at all. My parents used to drink and fight. We couldn’t control them. I was scared and I didn’t know where to go, or what to do. When I was 8 years old, I ran away with my friends to Kathmandu. To make money, my friends suggested we work in a factory. I was excited and happy at first, that I could finally earn. I was really interested in learning the work too. Then slowly the abuse began.”
“It was very hard. My hands used to shake while weaving all day long. I used to have cuts and bruises. The blood from the cuts would fall onto the carpets. When we could no longer work, they used to beat us. I began to regret running away. For two years I cried. I was 10 years old at the time.”
At 10 years old, Nirmila had enough. Shoeless, with only a small piggy bank in her hands, she walked to the front steps of a children’s rehabilitation center run by GoodWeave. Thanks to GoodWeave she is happily in school.
“Now my family condition is very good. My brother supports my wish to stay in school. My parents understand how important education is. Though I’m not that good at science, I really like it. Its my favorite subject.”
“I want to say that, I hope people know my story. And I hope that no one, no student ever faces what I have faced”
Meet the women who are the heartbeat of the ethically run Mahaguthi Factory. Checkout Mata Traders, who curates goods from sustainable and ethical sources including the Mahaguthi Factory to build a more humane fashion world.
“My name is Bina and I’ve been working here for 6 years now. I used to work for a small garment factory where the hours were long and life was really hard. A switch to an ethical factory has meant I can keep my son, who is 10 in school. One day I hope to be my own boss and own a tailoring shop.”
“I’m one of the original makers here! I’m 41 now, and have been working here since I was 24. I started in stitching and was promoted to supervisor. I love my role. I get to talk to everyone in the workshop. The work environment here is so comfortable. Transport and lunch is provided, as is a daycare facility. My message to you: the women who are destitute in society are the ones stitching your clothes. So when consumers buy from ethical brands who support women like me, like the women in this workshop, then good is created.”
“I’ve been working for about 7 years at Mahaguthi, doing quality control. Before working here, I taught math to small children and made money knitting from home on the side. Now, I’m inspired and supported by the community of women around me and am happy earning a higher wage. More importantly, I find myself with more opportunities. I’ve learned a lot on the job and take pride that my 2 year old daughter will be able to have an education because of my hard work. I hope you know how much love and care goes into your clothes Made in Nepal!”
“Before I started working here I worked from home, which was isolating. I love the environment here – all of us women working together. There’s camaraderie and spirit, and we are so proud to be supporting our families with our paychecks. My son is 18 and he was able to go to school because of this job. The designs we get in can be complex and difficult to stitch, but I find the challenge rewarding. The math is simple, buy more clothes from ethical brands like ours and together we help the next generation grow.”