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We are all aware of the terrible earthquakes that hit Nepal on 25 April and 12 May this year and the devastating effects on the community. Those of us who are part of the flourishing contemporary carpet market, or who use its beautiful products to decorate our own or clients’ houses, have benefited immeasurably from the talent of the country’s weavers. Without them we would not have the beautiful carpets sold by Veedon Fleece, Tania Johnson, The Rug Company, Jan Kath, Bazaar Velvet, Luke Irwin and Elizabeth Ashard to name but a few.
So of course it is time we offered our support. Many companies, charities and individuals are already donating money, setting up fund-raisers, giving a percentage of their rugs sales to the relevant causes, sending aid and even going over to Nepal and helping on the ground.
"We have a responsibility to help those less fortunate than ourselves in the best of times but in the worst of times that responsibility becomes a necessity. These are the worst of times for the people of Nepal." - Luke Irwin
We understand from reports that the weaving centres in Kathmandu have been relatively unaffected by physical damage; but the country’s infrastructure has been rocked, people have lost homes, possessions, friends and family. Medical care, shelter and food supplies are commodities in short supply. None of this will be solved quickly.
Jan Kath for Front London
Donating money and supplies is invariably the best immediate course of action. There are myriad ways to get the money to Nepal, by donating to the causes that send the money directly to those in need.
GoodWeave, an international non-profit organisation opposed to child labour in the rug industry, has been operating in Nepal for a long time. The initiative is currently working to reach its community of beneficiaries with support to recover and rebuild after the catastrophic impact of the earthquakes. If you would like to donate please go to www.goodweave.org.uk.
When the world’s attention drifts elsewhere, how should we keep on supporting Nepal? This is when rugs become a truly important part of the recovery. Remarkably, weaving is Nepal’s second largest industry after tourism. And obviously tourism will now take a bit hit – so it is time to bring rugs to the fore. Many weavers and workers are living in makeshift shelters. Despite the hardships, they are still weaving, they are still desperate to work and to keep work coming. We need to make sure this happens. Keep those rug orders going!