Artisan Impact: Nirjala Craft, Nepal
Nirjala Craft provides employment for Nepali women and sustains the ancient technique of felting. Originally known as Friends Handicraft, Nirjala Craft started operating as its own entity in the summer of 2017 along with Nuptse Craft. Based in Kathmandu, Nepal, Nirjala Crafts's mission is to combat urban poverty. It supports skills-training and income-generation programs for 70 female heads-of-households living in and around the capital and provides access to education for their children, fostering a sense of independence in an otherwise marginalized population.
Nirjala Craft provides flexible yet sustainable work to its employees. Every artisan works full time and is paid monthly by the cooperative. Approximately 75 percent are married, and 70 percent are mothers. Some employees are able to complete their stitching work from home, allowing them to stay with their young children while they work. All artisans have the option to catch the bus to work free of charge, and each day, a hot lunch is provided for all employees. Nirjala Craft also sponsors a bi-annual retreat for its employees, focusing on dancing, music and food, to celebrate twice a year as a team.
“I believe women and girls should be given the opportunity to do something - to better themselves. Before, men were more independent and girls were bound to the rules of their family. Now, women are able to make their families understand that they can do the same work as men.”
— Savitri Kardel