Before Michael and I went to Nepal last summer, we were told about a family from our area who are living in Kathmandu, starting a social enterprise called “Purnaa,” (a Nepali word meaning “whole, complete, or perfect”). The purpose of this social enterprise is to create jobs for survivors of exploitation – those who have experienced human trafficking, bonded labor, and discrimination because of caste, religion, or disease. In addition to creating job opportunities for those escaping exploitative situations in Nepal, Purnaa also seeks to prevent future exploitation by employing those whose marginalized status in society hinders them from finding work elsewhere. Women in Nepal are especially vulnerable to trafficking and abuse. They are often treated as second-rate human beings, particularly when widowed, suffering certain illnesses, or when they are members of some castes or religious groups. Purnaa offers training and jobs that provide dignity and a hopeful future for those existing on the fringes of Nepali society. Nepal is ranked #5 of 178 nations on the global slavery index for highest incidence of modern slavery. 1 in 10 Nepalis have already left their country in search of work elsewhere, and the unemployment rate is over 40%. As you can see, the need is great, and Purnaa can make a difference.
While in Kathmandu, Michael and I had the great pleasure of meeting one of the couples behind Purnaa, and we got to hear a bit about their vision for this social enterprise, and the progress they were making as they navigated beginning their business in Nepal. Only last week they began a Kickstarter campaign to create even more jobs in Kathmandu. They have already raised their goal of $7000 through Kickstarter, and are currently hoping to reach some “stretch” goals that will enable them to start scholarships for their employees’ children ($25 K), provide childcare for their employees ($40 K), and launch Purnaa’s online store ($50 K). Most importantly, they are creating work opportunities for more employees at Purnaa.
For a pledge of $10 or more, you will receive a thank you note on traditional handmade Nepali paper, posted form Nepal. For a pledge of $20 or more, you will receive the reversible “Rajkumar cap,” available in black or grey. With a pledge of $30 or more, you will receive the beautiful “Lamxi braided organic cotton/bamboo scarf” – an infinity scarf crafted from braids of up-cycled sari material, and an organic bamboo cotton body (these are my fave!). For a pledge of $35 or more, you can choose between the men’s “Dadhi t-shirt” or the women’s “Pawana t-shirt,” both made from organic bamboo cotton, and available in blue, green, rust, or blush. For a pledge of $55 or more, you’ll receive the “Anita canvas leather bag,” made from cotton canvas, leather, and recycled traditional Nepali sari fabric, with a choice of colour family of blue, green, rust, or blush (pictured above). There are five more levels of pledges that can be made, offering a combination of the previously described Purnaa products. Estimated delivery is October 2014, and there are additional shipping costs for those living outside of Canada, the USA, or Sweden. Each product includes a quote from an individual that championed social action (see Kickstarter campaign for more details). Products that include up-cycled sari material are one-of-a-kind.
Purnaa typically manufactures products for designers and brands who insist on slave-free and ethical manufacturing, but this Kickstarter campaign is a unique opportunity to purchase Purnaa-brand items, while creating job-opportunities in Nepal.
We are so excited for Purnaa, and for what this Kickstarter campaign will do for those on the fringes of Nepali society. To learn more about Purnaa, check out their website, and to learn more about their Kickstarter campaign, click on any of the pictures above. Congratulations on the launch of your campaign, Purnaa!