A beautifully crafted, hand-woven rug adds so much to a home. Every Weave rug is hand-woven, from 100% natural fibre, by artisans in Northern India. Sadly, there are many social issues, such as working conditions, forced labour, child labour, access to education and medical care in the areas where these rugs are produced. When we were looking at how we could bring both an authentically crafted and fair product to market, we looked at these issues and what we could do to help address them. Is the rug that you are looking to buy helping to improve the life of the weaver?
What are the social issues in carpet weaving areas?
The largest carpet weaving areas in the world are located in Northern India, Pakistan and Nepal. Rug weaving has been a part of community tradition in these areas for centuries. Traditionally, nomadic sheepherders used to spin their wool and then weave it on looms into beautiful artisan rugs in traditional designs.
Today, rug weaving on handlooms is the livelihood of 6.5 million families in India. It is the second biggest employment sector in the country, so making sure that these people are treated fairly in their work can make a difference to many lives.
As handloom weaving is often done within family groups and in homes, monitoring to make sure safe and fair employment practices are being followed can be difficult. As a result, there are frequent allegations of illegal child labour, poor working conditions and children not being able to access education or medical facilities.
A child receiving medical treatment at a Care & Fair funded centre.
What can be done to help?
Every one of us can help by checking before we purchase – is the rug that you are looking to buy helping to improve the life of the weaver? It's so simple to check the product labelling – just look for the stamp of organisations like Care & Fair or GoodWeave. These organisations are working on the ground in India to regulate and improve working conditions and livelihoods of carpet weaving families. By buying a rug endorsed by one of these essential organisations, you know that some of the purchase price is going back into the community.
Care & Fair provide funding for 3,400 children to go to school.
The work of 'Care & Fair'
We have chosen to support ethical practices in carpet weaving areas by partnering with Care & Fair. Care & Fair was started in 1994 by a group of European companies that were involved in the carpet trade. They set themselves the goals of helping to improve living standards, and to educate companies that consumers care about. Showing that social responsibility and leadership can come from within the industry and help consumer understand where their rugs come from and who made them.
We are very proud to be associated with and support Care & Fair – 85% of all the funds raised and donated are spent on meaningful project work. The Care & Fair organisation believes strongly in the transformative power of educating children. So creating access to education through schools is a top priority.
Currently, they own and support 21 facilities across the carpet weaving regions. As a result, 3,400 children have the opportunity to attend school at no cost to their families. Another 60,000 people benefit from medical treatment at their clinics and they have introduced Women Empowerment Programs to encourage education for women.
This contribution helps make a difference to the region and one you support every time you buy a Weave rug.