Many of our regular customers will remember the Nepal Trade Aid campaign that we initiated following the earthquakes of 2015.
We pledged to make your generous donations count as much as possible by taking no administration charges, adding 10% of our sales, and delivering the bulk of funds direct to local community leaders for work-generating projects that could support a long-term recovery.
Today, while global media has long moved on to more current situations, Nepal continues to be faced with many years of hardship and struggle. The unemployment rate for men before the earthquakes was 63% and women were not counted even in the statistics. With generations of development destroyed in just minutes, the ominous task of rebuilding lives and livelihoods seems now also generations away from completion.
We continue to sell our gift selections in presentation boxes of hand-made Lokta paper from cooperatives in Nepal, but the question that we always ask ourselves in the office here at Absolute Essential is ‘what more can we do to help?’
So, on a recent trip to visit key supplier villages there, I was excited to connect with local organisations on the ground and find a community trade initiative that we could support with additional business from Absolute Essential.
There are two organisations that have helped us to establish trade connections, direct to small groups of women making artisan socks using wool, hand-dyed and spun from local sheep and yak.
The first is ‘Support Nepal’ which is an organisation operating solely with local volunteers. And the second is the CCODER Project (Center of Community Development and Research) that has developed a Community Health Plan focused on preventative health care with also a community bank and education service (very much in line with the broader ‘sustainability’ view of health that we share here at Absolute Essential).
Being members of these local organisations means that we can maintain our reach at the heart of the communities we want to continue supporting, even from NZ headquarters. Having established our first commission in time for Christmas sales, we are already contributing to the on-going success of these important creative initiatives.
The groups themselves are simple. Women can work together in their houses or in community areas, sharing childcare as they work. The onus is very much on training groups to be organised autonomously for greater independence and sustainable business success.
For Pre-Christmas shopping at Absolute Essential in 2016, we are promoting the socks as artisan Christmas stockings that work beautifully with Absolute Essential organic health products. We commissioned two sizes – a long sock that is perfect for the traditional ‘fire place’ adornment, and a short, lined sock that makes a great festive package for special individual gifts.
Of course, they are also lovely cosy socks to save for the winter months too!
When the commission arrived at the office it was really like Christmas had already arrived. The traditional colours and designs are delightful, and they have the unmistakable added richness of hand-crafted goods.
The staff allocation was snapped up in seconds! So we are very optimistic that here begins a new Christmas tradition that many other people will be buying into.
To find out about purchasing bulk orders through Absolute Essential for selling on, contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org.