By Melainy Williams
Haushala Creatives, under the umbrella of parent organization Children and Youth First, focuses on making economic and social changes for women in Nepal. In 2013, while running CYF’s boarding school Life Vision Academy, young Haushala Thapa recognized the lack of economic independence among many of the school children’s mothers.
She decided to take action. On her own rooftop, she started a women’s cooperative and workshop which provided a safe space for women to gather and exchange ideas and knowledge. It quickly transformed into a larger cooperative of artisan women, where anyone could come receive free training in knitting and sewing. The women who are a part of Haushala Creatives work towards gaining economic independence by creating handmade products and earning profits from their sale. Haushala Creatives not only provides training but also provides an outlet for the sale of the merchandise. Some of the trainees choose to take their new skills home and open their own businesses. All the women involved benefit from increased economic and social independence.
The good doesn’t stop there. While half of the profits of the sale of handcrafted merchandise goes directly back to the women of Haushala Cooperatives, the other half, as agreed upon by our artisans, benefits the local boarding school, Life Vision Academy (LVA). Supporting our products benefits both our hardworking artisans as well as the children attending LVA.
…but many more women can benefit from our program. Our main hub is located in the urban periphery of Kathmandu, Nepal, and women marginalized in rural areas cannot access these opportunities. In villages, poverty leads to lower education rates and higher marriage rates. Increased dependency resulting from the aforementioned trends leaves women with limited-decision making power. Further, high travel costs to travel into cities limits work opportunities and increases economic reliance on men. We want to interrupt this pattern by introducing more Haushala Creatives hubs in rural areas, extending our model to encourage all women across Nepal’s districts.
We want to sustain a model which continues to change women’s’ lives. We have developed a plan to keep our programs going. Any money earned from running the programs will be reinvested into the organization to pay for operating costs. We will continue to operate our training programs. Women graduating from the program will be given the opportunity to work for Haushala Creatives and earn their own income. Those who have taken part in our program will be inspired and inspire others, just like Haushala Thapa back in 2013.
Want to help us develop our new hubs to employ more women? Consider donating to Haushala Creatives, or shop for the artisans’ merchandise at haushala.com.