People Tree is excited to share wonderful stories of our Fair Trade partner groups with you. Kumbeshwar Technical School (KTS) is based in Kathmandu, Nepal. KTS employs over 2,000 artisans who produce a collection of hand knitted and embroidered cardigans, jumpers, hats, gloves and scarves for People Tree.
Roshani Maharjan (above, left)
Roshani Maharjan is from a group of tribal farmers in Sanogaun village. Roshani has been knitting for 15 years. She has one 7 year old son. She knits for KTS as the pay is 35% higher than other companies locally. Roshani is a group leader at KTS and has helped other women to learn to knit and earn a good income.
Nilu Maharjan (above, right)
Nilu is 19 years old and started knitting just after she left school. Currently Nilu is studying management in Patan. After graduating she’d like to get a job in a finance. She knits for a few hours every evening after college. Working with KTS allows Nilu to earn money in her own time and finance her studies.
KTS was originally set up to help pode people, the so-called ‘untouchable’ caste in Nepal. Those born into the pode caste are expected to clean the sewers and streets of the areas inhabited by higher castes for no more than scraps of leftover food. The discrimination which keeps these people out of other forms of work even affects children, who may drop out of primary school because they are unable to fit in. Until recently, pode children did not go to school at all.
People Tree works with KTS to provide training, design and marketing support. Hand knitting not only makes a unique and beautiful products, it also provides women with the opportunity to work. Many of the artisans at KTS are mothers and university students who use their income to finance their – and their children’s – education and living costs.
In addition to providing good jobs for thousands of people, Fair Trade puts profits back into social development, supporting an orphanage and a school providing education to over 250 children from low-income families. KTS provides underprivileged women, disabled people and widows with vocational training and work opportunities at fair wages. KTS provides medical and social support, adult’s literacy classes and provides micro-credit loans.
KTS has an impact throughout their community. Today street sweepers and people who are discriminated against are becoming more aware of their rights and are sending their children to school and working together to support each other.
“I feel excited to be economically independent and I have more decision making power. I recently bought a house! The profits from Fair Trade are running the school for over 200 children, a day care centre and orphanage. For Christmas, I hope people will buy our sweaters so orders keep coming and I feel good through our work.” – Binda Manandher.
Have a look at People Tree’s website to see all the gorgeous knitted garments made by this wonderful group of our producers.
Give a hand knit this Christmas and give social change!