MAHILA SHAKTI HANDICRAFT WORKSHOP
“Soap that grows on trees and changes lives”
“Mahila Shakti” means “women’s power” in Nepali language. The handicrafts produced in our workshop are made by local women who are impoverished or come from difficult backgrounds. Some of them have suffered from leprosy and still live with the stigma associated with the disease, making it difficult for them to find job. KRMEF is really proud to create such employment opportunities for them, which allows them the prospect to earn a living and develop valuable technical skills. Now we are very happy to announce that our workshop has been certified by Fair Trade Group Nepal (FTGN).
Soap-nuts are grown and have been sustainably harvested in Nepal for many centuries. The sticky brown shell contains saponin- a natural and environmentally friendly detergent which is allergy-free and perfect for babies, eczema and sensitive skin. Once refined, the soap can be used as laundry detergent for washing dishes and also as liquid hand soap. During harvesting, the soap-nut’s shiny black seed is extracted from the shell. The seeds are dried and designed into beautiful jewelry pieces which are sold at some farmer’s market in Kathmandu. The profits from these sales go to the replenishing of the handicraft supplies as well as supporting other programs at the KRMEF.
We try to find regenerative ways to use waste products and local plants. In addition to soap-nut jewelry, we use recycled plastics to weave intricate colorful baskets, make drinking cups out of the waste glass bottles, and design our own reusable tote bags from materials produced at the foundation on a loom.
The handicraft program has started expanding to different international market. Leela traveled to Thailand to expose and sell the jewelries at a festival organized for Nepalese entrepreneurs. There are also friends in Switzerland and Germany who are helping us in selling some of our handicraft goods, supporting in the growing economy for the foundation and ultimately for Nepal.
Our handicraft program is currently collaborating with five other local entrepreneurs to sell goods in a local market in Kathmandu. With each step forward, the workshop looks for more innovative ways to reusable materials like the newly designed earrings using tire/tube rubber. And now, we are really honored to have an online market and shopping catalog for some of the jewelries to reach our friends and supporters abroad for the holistic and much needed growth.
Please find our new outlet here at Fair Customer (Switzerland) for your kind information.