Welcome to Didi Bahini - a fair trade organization helping socially minded Nepalese artisans find markets in North America. We specifically target the high end boutique market with our wonderful high quality products.
Support primarily female artisans find employment in Nepal.
Jewelry (Silver & Tibetan), Pashmina Shawls, Felt Scarves, Wool Infinity Scarves, Stationary/Paper, Cotton Bags, Textiles, Body Products, Felt Christmas Ornaments, Singing Bowls, Gift Items, Slippers, Stocking Stuffers, Instruments and more.
FINDING A NAME …. SISTERS…Didi Bahini means “sisters” in Nepalese - denoting our talented sisters who largely make our products, our hugely supportive sisters who largely buy our products and our committed sisters who organize the Didi Bahini initiative. Our artisan brothers and customers are also greatly appreciated!
PLANTING THE SEED…The idea for this initiative was born in Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal, in 2005. I (Jane Gragtmans), Didi Bahini's founder, spent three years living in Nepal from 2003 - 2006, while accompanying my husband on his work posting, together with our two younger children. We found Nepal and its people captivating! We enjoyed our time there tremendously and wanted to find a way of giving back to the Nepalese and supporting them in their struggle for development.
The opportunity seemed to present itself. As an active member of the Cultural Studies Group of Nepal, I was introduced to several fascinating artisan groups and awed by their incredible skills in making high quality handicrafts. At the same time I was struck by the level of poverty and political strife existing in Nepal. Nepal has just come through a decade long internal war which has challenged the Nepalese in many ways and seriously limited its economic growth. Nepal is one of the world's poorest countries (ranking 163 on the UN world poverty index). GDP per capita is only USD $272 per year and the adult literacy rate is 48%. Thus the idea emerged of building on the strengths of the Nepalese handicraft skills, assisting with the development of the fair trade sector in Nepal (to encourage fair wages and work conditions) and developing markets for our partners in North America.
GIVING TWICE…Didi Bahini not only supports these socially minded artisan groups by making regular purchases but also seeks to support the very large destitute population in Nepal by providing an initial 5% of our profits towards programs that empower disadvantaged women and children. We have begun by supporting a group of out-of school children of female micro-entrepreneurs (vegetable and fruit sellers, etc.) in Kathmandu, allowing parents to work while knowing their children are receiving an education in school and not roaming the streets. See our Social Commitment page for more information.
ADDITIONAL BENEFITS OF SUPPORTING DIDI BAHINI…Your purchase helps to support a fair trading relationship with our Nepalese partners.
Developing markets for their goods
Keeping their craft traditions alive
Encouraging suppliers to move towards a fair trade model of business
Providing additional business support when necessary (i.e. product development, full payment for purchases before they leave Nepal, assistance with administrative systems, etc..)