What do hand woven rugs and the Nobel Peace Prize have in common? Answer: Kailash Satyarthi.
You see, in 2014 Kailash won the Nobel Peace Prize for his work to end child slavery and the promotion of education. He is the founder of GoodWeave International, formerly Rugmark, which is a nonprofit that works to end child slavery in the hand woven carpet industry. Kailash also founded and is the chair of Global March Against Child Labour, which is a global network of trade unions, teachers, and civil-society organizations that work to end child labor.
Kalish led many raids to rescue kids from carpet factories where the children were forced to work long hours in horrible conditions and often endure beatings from factory managers. He then decided to tackle this slavery problem head on from a corporate responsibility angle by creating GoodWeave.
So what does GoodWeave do you ask. Well, they make sure no child labor laws are violated by conducting independent audits of carpet-weaving factories in India, Pakistan, Nepal, and Afghanistan. The organization then takes their involvement to the next level by rescuing the children they find in these horrific situations and provides them with rehabilitation services and sends them to school.
What’s really cool, is that today 11 million GoodWeave-certified rugs have been sold worldwide and the organization has reduced the number of children working in the carpet industry by 75 percent. To date, GoodWeave has rescued 3,500 children. And, how about this statistic, Satyarthi has led the rescue of over 80,000 child slaves worldwide in various industries.
It is important to note that while so many children have been saved, the International Labour Organization sites that there are still 168 million children enslaved. So this statistic begs me to ask, “What can we do to help combat child slavery?”
I urge you to look for fair trade certification and membership information about the organizations where you buy your products. And please make the conscious decision to pay a little more for your rug or whatever item it is you are purchasing. This simple step WILL touch a child’s life.
Here’s a toast to Kailash Satyarthi and all the people who stand united with him in their tireless efforts to end child slavery – Cheers!
* Facts for this blog were taken from an article written in the Green American magazine.
You can make an impact today by making a donation, no gifts are to great or to small.
Or, consider purchasing one of beautiful hand woven bags from our group in Guatemala or another fair trade item.