January 05, 2024 3 min read
It was 1990. Some estimated that there were 1,000,000 Indian children weaving rugs.
At the time, I was working as the buyer for our family's 20 rug stores.
I returned from my first solo buying trip to India, my Father was waiting at the airport.
We had no cell phones. I was 21 and had been away for over 2 weeks.
Truth be told, one of the 12 suppliers told that I should consult my Father before making my buying decisions, and that wasn’t going to work. The rest of them told me that there is nothing we can do about child labor in the production of our rugs. Naïve as I was, I didn’t accept it.
The one remaining supplier? My partner in Organic Weave. Together we were founding members of RugMark (now GoodWeave), an internationally-recognized NGO dedicated to eradicating child labor in global supply chains.
And my Father’s reaction?
“That’s only good news.”
GoodWeave – a nonprofit organization founded in 1994 by Nobel Peace Prize laureate Kailash Satyarthi – is the leading international institution working to stop child labor in global supply chains through a market-based system and holistic approach. GoodWeave protects workers’ rights; provides assurance that products are free of child, forced and bonded labor; and restores childhoods.
With over 25 years of pioneering and innovating a system that at the core harnesses market power through its work with brands and producers, GoodWeave has restored freedom to over 9,700 children, directly provided educational opportunities to more than 46,180 children, and deterred hundreds of thousands of children from entering labor.
GoodWeave’s impact goes beyond reach numbers as it has been a leading voice in positively influencing societal norms and behaviors to eliminate child labor.
Our artisans earn a living wage and our rugs are certified child labor free by GoodWeave International.
• Ensured freedom for 9,739 children
• Provided direct educational opportunities for 46,185 children
• Reached 93,293 workers in supply chains in 2022
• Certified more than 36 million products as child labor free
My other mandate, tied to ending child labor, was to employ as many women as possible. I wanted to focus on creating sustainable income for women. After all, would a mother send her child to work if she had an economic alternative?
Today, there are still an estimated 160 million children forced to work. You can make a difference by just purchasing the right products.
I believe that a truly beautiful rug is one that is impeccably hand crafted by artisans who are treated fairly and made with materials that are in harmony with nature. Non-toxic production is healthier for everyone - the artisans, the planet, and you.
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