Hathay Bunano

Hathay Bunano is a nonprofit fair trade organization in Bangladesh. The mission of Hathay Bunano, which means handmade or handknit in Bangla, is to create fairly paid, good quality, flexible and local employment for rural women who are poor and often disadvantaged. Hathay Bunano tries to address all the reasons why a woman might not be able to work and to offer her the support she needs to earn money to support her family: to provide employment which fits in with the rhythm of rural life and to prevent economic migration to the cities, to keep families together and, in particular, to keep mothers with their babies and children by providing employment in a village setting close to their homes. Hathay Bunano, the creator of Pebble as its products are called, is a proud member of the World Fair Trade Organization. Kahiniwalla, itself a member of the Fair Trade Federation, distributes Pebble in the US. The relationship between Austin and Marita Miller, who own Kahiniwalla and Samantha and Morshed, who run Hathay Bunano, began at a small craft fair at the Grace International School in Dhaka, where their sons were attending. Samantha and Morshed were at this fair and Morshed approached Austin about the product he was working with. Austin met with Samantha and Morshed often during the next couple of years; he would ask them questions about their amazing quality control and learn that it was not a process but more of a philosophy. These interactions helped further articulate Austin's belief that entrepreneurship and enterprise is one of the most empowering and sustainable ways for people to come out of poverty, with dignity. Samantha's vision for Pebble of providing a place close to their rural homes in which women could work flexible hours was just what over 5,000 rural women were looking for. This number is growing as the demand for Pebble products grows and new centers are started. These rural workplaces provide a welcome alternative to these women moving to a large city to work in the garment industry leaving their families behind and making themselves vulnerable to injust and sometimes violent situations.
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