Survey to find out about ethical consumers November 2015

article written for Re:So Newspaper Konnect / November 2015

An Interview With Anna Felton for Kopila Valleys Women's Centre

(http://www.blinknow.org/pages/womens-center)

I guess first question is what kind of products do they produce ?

The women produce clothing needed for their every day lives as well as gifts for people who visit the local town. They also make all the school uniforms for the school and hostel.

Dresses, trousers, jackets, hats, wallets, bedding, traditional festival wear.

Where are they usually sold ?

We opened our doors in 2013 with the goal of providing life-changing job training and education to women in our community. The center expanded in 2014 to include a retail shop in town, staffed by graduates of our training program and stocked with their beautiful handmade products. We've also expanded to include a counseling center and a microloan program, all part of our mission to bring women together and empower them to lead better lives.In the women center shop.

What kind of materials do they use ?

Natural fiber brought in from Katmandu of the woven scarves. Then cottons and wool.

how does all this help all the women ?

While Nepal’s patriarchal society is slowly fading and disparities between men and women narrow, there is still a clear gap in gender equality. Most of the women in Surkhet struggle to make a living. They do intense physical labor. They farm. They break stones. They walk miles to the jungle for firewood to cook meals. When we talk to mothers, we hear stories of abuse, deprivation, and loss. And yet these women are the strongest on Earth. They don't complain. They just move ever forward, dreaming of brighter days and seeking an opportunity to feed and educate their children, to keep them healthy and strong. The goal of our center and store is to provide that opportunity and those bright days.

When women are educated and empowered, only then can we make steps to alleviate poverty, find gender equality, and foster a thriving community. At the Women’s Center, we work together to shape the curriculum and offer the best opportunities for development and daily inspiration. We hold classes covering a range of topics, including parenting, human rights, health, stress management, and self-confidence. These classes then run alongside the women’s vocational learning such as sewing, weaving, business classes, and entrepreneurship.

Our women are inspiring the next generation by showing them that an education is the best way to break down social and economic barriers. Our women are working to ensure their own girls are educated, which reduces the risk of exploitation, encourages delayed childbirth, and ultimately leads to a more skilled and productive labor force in the community.

How is the pricing structured ?

The pricing is the same as any other product, we use the cost price of fabric, cost of make up and margin for the shop.

What kind of ethical issues are covered apart from the obvious in helping these women rebuild their lives ?

We hope to be sustainable, adding the weaving teaching to the project allows us to make the fabric to make the garments. closing the gap.

 

If they have children, is child care and / or education in place for them ?

We help as much as we can with child care. We have one lady who currently brings along with her, they are all good mothers.  If the child is old enough they will have a spot our the school attached the center.

What is the support they get ?

Each women is paid a wage, even when training.

What channels are used to promote the centre ?

facebook, twitter, instagram under blinknow.

Is there government backing ?

We are now a NGO. We are  and supported when we have cases for the women to tackle, for example abuse.

Where does the majority of funding come from ?

We have a number of incredible donators, and board member. We also have grants for products, the Women's center was heavily supported by Dining for Women.

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