During the first phase, 7 weaving workshops were established across Sarlahi and 490 local weavers – including 24 master weavers – were trained and skilled.
The project is now in its second phase and has expanded its focus. By the end of 2023, the Artisan Villages project aims to create 1,500 reliable jobs for carpet industry artisans in rural areas with a decentralized network of carpet production, including dyeing, spinning, and carding.
Meet the Artisans
Jarina, 38, trainee in Malangwa.
Jarina, 38, MalangwaJarina was born with a condition that affects her left eye and never had the opportunity to receive any formal education. She married at 19, but after about a year of marriage her husband went to work in India, remarried, and never returned. Jarina now lives in her own home and is the primary caregiver for her mother.
Jarina is a trainee in the Malangwa unit of Sarlahi. She used to have to work odd jobs to support her household but believes carpet weaving will provide her with a more stable source of income that will help improve her standard of living.
Surya, 40, Sarlahi“I used to work as a migrant weaver in Lebanon. It was a struggle, but I managed to work there for 6 years. I had to work 24 hour shifts, so I eventually decided to return to my home country. I was hired at the Artisan Villages as a master weaver because of my skill. I said to myself, ‘Why would I miss such an opportunity?’ Weaving is my passion; I think it’s an art.”
Surya lives in Sarlahi with her husband and son.
Jainab, 26, trainee in Chaulikha.
Jainab, 26, ChaulikhaJainab lives with her mother because her husband often migrates for work, and she is a participant in the Carding and Spinning Training program in Chaulika, Ishworpur. After her father’s death many years ago, her mother began working several jobs – including wool spinning and carding – to make ends meet.
Today, Jainab, her mother, and her sister all spin and card wool for their living.
Gyan, 41, weaver in Sarlahi.
Gyan, 41, SarlahiGyan has been working in the carpet industry for more than a decade and lives with his wife, son, daughter-in-law, and grandson. He has two sons, one from his first marriage as well as an 11-year-old with his current wife. He and his wife used to work together as weavers in Kathmandu but stopped after the 2015 earthquake when they decided to return to Sarlahi, where they bought land and built a small home.
The couple supported themselves in the years that followed through agricultural work and with help from the remittance of Gyan’s elder son in Qatar. However, after hearing about a carpet workshop being set up near their home, they decided to return to weaving and enrolled their daughter-in-law in the Label STEP weaver training in Bagmati.
Label STEP and our partners at UKaid look forward to seeing this program grow in support of a sustainable future for carpet making in Nepal. To learn more about this project, visit: label-step.org/artisan-villages
All photos by René Fietzek.