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Artisan Stories: Jute Basketmakers, Bangladesh

Jute Basketmakers, Bangladesh


Our jute baskets are made by a small workshop in Bangladesh that is committed to providing ethical employment conditions and adhering to high environmental standards. Working conditions are safe and hygenic and the artisans receive a living wage and reliable working hours.

Bangladesh is a country of extremes, with densely-populated cities and remote rural villages. The UN identifies Bangladesh as one of the 'least developed' countries in the world based on social and economic measures.

Jute


In Bangladesh, jute is affectionately known as 'the golden fibre' due to its colour and high economic value. Jute leaves even feature in the country's national emblem. Jute is exceptionally eco-friendly as it's a rain-fed crop and requires no fertiliser or pesticides. Growing plants take in three times more CO2 than the average tree, helping to purify the air.

How is it made?


Our baskets are made from jute grown and harvested nearby, keeping money within the local economy. The stems are cut, bundled and immersed in slow-running river water, which breaks down the non-fibrous parts of the plant. The soft fibres are then stripped and hung in the sun to dry, before being dyed. Finally, lengths of jute are plaited, coiled and sewn into shape.

How your purchase improves lives


People living in rural areas of Bangladesh frequently suffer economic disadvantage due to their isolated location. Local employment opportunities, like jute farming and basket weaving, mean people do not need to relocate to the cities to seek work, helping keep families together.

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Image credits: Prithu De, Michael Foley, Arttu Manninen.