On Saturday the 25th of April the world stood still as news surfaced of a terrible earthquake in Nepal. Affecting an estimated 8 million people, with over 4,8o0 pronounced dead and over 9,000 injured.
*Updated 29th April*
We were devastated to hear the news of the earthquake and what impact it will have to producer groups, their families, the people of Nepal and their country, which we know and care about so deeply. People Tree has been working in Nepal for the last 20 years and today supports over 2273 knitting families and a further 300 craft making families through its Fair Trade business.
When the news broke of the earthquake, we immediately contacted KTS to find out how they are and were relieved to find out that there have been no casualties to the KTS family, our main Fair Trade partner. All telephone lines were down, we managed to get through on WhatsApp.
The workplace infrastructure, however, has been hugely affected. We asked them what they need. The people affected desperately need continued employment, now more than ever. They need good livelihoods and hope, which is through continued support and Fair Trade orders. Selling more of their products means more people employed. We want to encourage purchases of KTS to increase their employment and to help them rebuild their infrastructure. This is why People Tree is donating 10% of sales from its products made in Nepal to go to communities hit by the earthquake.
Today Fair Trade Group Nepal, the national network of Fair Trade groups, is meeting to decide the emergency relief plan of how they are asking the international Fair Trade community, and you our customers, to help.
As you may already know, People Tree partners with 2,500 artisans and hand knitters in Nepal. We were so relieved to hear that KTS Fair Trade group are ok. They now have their work cut out for them helping the local community and their producers secure water, food and checking on the Fair Trade sub groups and knitting circles throughout Kathmandu Valley. We hope to have details in the next few days.
Today we will start an everyday relief campaign to support KTS relief activities by making a donation for each hand knitted sweater or cardigan we sell.
“The best way is either by donating and/or buying a Fair Trade product made in Nepal. The countries infrastructure has always been weak. Up until now we were collecting some of our sweaters by motor bike! The population in Kathmandu has doubled due to Maoist insurgency, it was not unusual to see people queuing for water for an hour each day even before the earthquake. It’s really awful to imagine the catastrophe unfolding, our friends in Kathmandu report locals waiting for hours for food and water. KTS HQ faces Patan Square which is the home to important cultural and historical temples. Fortunately these are still standing, it’s so sad to see many temples have unfortunately fallen to the ground, which will undoubtedly have a huge impact on local moral and tourism in the future.
I really pray that international relief will come quickly to these amazing people.”