Jute Weavers, Bangladesh
Our jute bags are made by women and young mothers in rural areas of Bangladesh. The women are employed by one of three fair trade certified groups that identify and support the most marginalised groups in their area. The project was established in 2004 and now works with more than two thousand women.
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.
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 bags are made from jute grown and harvested nearby, keeping money within the local economy. The long, soft fibres are extracted from the plant and spun into thread. The women mostly work from home on hand-operated looms, turning the thread into very fine jute cloth. Finally, the jute fabric is sewn into bags and handles and a cotton lining are added.
How your purchase improves lives
Employment opportunities for mothers in rural Bangladesh are very limited. This fair trade project enables the women work from home so they can earn an independent income and care for their children at the same time. The mothers can now send all their children to school and are particularly keen to make sure their daughters are educated to give them more life choices.
"My mother used the money she earned weaving to pay for extra tuition for me. Because of this I am studying political science at Dhaka University and hope to become a teacher one day" Rita