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In light of ABC News report, GoodWeave encourages due diligence but ongoing charitable support for Nepal  

For Immediate Release

Contact: Alina Ruzmetova at Alina@GoodWeave.org or +1-202-234-9050

In light of ABC News report, GoodWeave encourages due diligence but ongoing charitable support for Nepal

Washington, DC, August 12, 2016 – On August 9, 2016, ABC News released a report titled “The Dark Side of Orphanage 'Voluntourism' in Nepal” which highlighted cases where well-meaning overseas donors inadvertently funded trafficking regimes by providing support to so-called “orphanages.” One such orphanage mentioned in the report was named Hamro Ghar. The orphanage implicated in the report has no affiliation with GoodWeave or with our transit home for rescued children in Kathmandu, which is also named Hamro Ghar. In Nepali, Hamro Ghar means “Our Home” and is commonly used by children’s service organizations.

Founded 20 years ago, GoodWeave’s Hamro Ghar is fully-registered with the Government of Nepal Central Children’s Welfare Board and is staffed by professional social workers and care staff. It serves as a transit home offering both short-term and long-term services for children rescued from servitude.

The ABC News report raised serious and legitimate concerns about groups dishonestly raising money by purporting to help children. Diligence is clearly needed to ensure that such support is directed to credible organizations. Yet, Nepal is one of the world’s poorest countries still struggling to rebuild in the aftermath of massive back-to-back earthquakes last year, and GoodWeave encourages its community to continue to invest money, volunteer time and tourism to this beautiful nation.


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About GoodWeave: Founded in 1995, GoodWeave is ending child labor by harnessing the power of the marketplace. The organization works at both ends of the supply chain – growing market preference for certified product in consumer countries and inspecting production sites along South Asia’s carpet belt. Any child found working is offered counseling, medical care, education and (if needed) a home – social programs supported by the sale of certified rugs. To date, GoodWeave has directly freed more than 3,600 children from labor on the looms, educated nearly 15,000 children, and improved the working conditions for 50,000 weavers in partnership with 140 import brands worldwide. On its 20th anniversary, GoodWeave announced a major expansion to bring its model to Nepal’s brick kilns and India’s apparel industry.

 

 

Free the Slaves Launches the 2016 Freedom Awards for India and Nepal 
News Release
July 29, 2016

Free the Slaves periodically honors survivors, activists and organizations that demonstrate outstanding courage, innovation and dedication in the fight to end slavery. The Freedom Awards celebrate anti-slavery heroes and innovators from around the globe by showcasing what some of the best anti-slavery work in the world looks like—and by supporting that work financially. Award winners are setting the standard for successful, sustainable anti-slavery initiatives. By generating public recognition for outstanding achievement, the awards offer inspiration and boost resources for the movement. The awards remind us that slavery still exists—and that it can be overcome. For more information, click here View the article

 

 

GoodWeave Licensed Partner Designs Two Exclusive Rugs for The Metropolitan Museum of Art Store 
News Release
July 19, 2016
View the article 

 

"They Bear All The Pain" 
News Article
July 13, 2016

New Human Rights Watch report highlights hazardous working conditions in Afghanistan, urges to take steps to end child labor.
View the article 

 

President Lincoln's Brave Ideas 
News Article
June 22, 2016

On June 27, President Lincoln’s Cottage kicked off their fundraising campaign to replace the floor covering in the Cottage, where President Lincoln developed the Emancipation Proclamation. In that spirit, they partnered with GoodWeave to ensure the new floor covering would be made without any forced or slave labor.
View the article 

 

GoodWeave Participates in a USDOL Panel Event 
News Article
June 16, 2016

In recognition of World Day Against Child Labor, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of International Labor Affairs co-hosted an event with the Child Labor Coalition on June 14 in Washington, DC, to discuss what businesses can do to eliminate child labor in supply chains. GoodWeave’s Deputy Director Beth Gottschling Huber was on the panel.
View the article 

 

Ending Child Labor: The Dirty Business of Cleaning Up Supply Chains 
OpEd
June 10, 2016

In honor of World Day Against Child Labor, GoodWeave CEO Nina Smith discussed how companies can help eradicate child labor from their supply chains.
View the article 

 

After Nepal’s Earthquake, A Push To Rebuild Without Child Labor 
News Article
June 8, 2016

PBS NewsHour presents a special piece on labor practices in South Asian brick kilns. It features Better Brick Nepal which is a project in partnership with The Global Fairness Initiative to eradicate child, forced and bonded labor.
View the article 

 

Keeping It Real: Welcome To The Age Of Transparency 
News Article
June 7, 2016

Home & Textiles features a cover story on keeping it real in the age of supply chain transparency, featuring quotes from GoodWeave, Westpoint Home, Oeko-Tex and more.
View the article 

 

Understanding Supply Chains; The Key to Ending Child Labor 

Veteran GoodWeave International board member Edward Millard spent two days in the field with our staff inspectors, visiting project sites for our work in the carpet industry and for a new apparel pilot with C&A Foundation. Mr. Millard drove for long hours on bumpy and crowded roads, stopping in towns and villages in western Uttar Pradesh and Haryana states. He entered places where most people do not go – back alleys and other hidden production sites – where his presence was as much a novelty as it would be for any western buyer or government official. Mr. Millard is director of strategic partnerships for Rainforest Alliance and a leader for more than 30 years in building sustainable enterprise.


Understanding Supply Chains; The Key to Ending Child Labor

Edward MillardCertification schemes are sometimes criticized for being “tick-box exercises”, a reference to the checklists used by auditors to record compliance with a standard when they visit production units. No matter how thorough the actual standard is, its effectiveness in upgrading practices depends on the quality of the inspection process. A trained and qualified auditor verifies and crosschecks what she or he learns from management and observes during the inspection visit by talking to staff, reviewing written records, and following up afterward regarding any doubts or concerns – such as checking on official records for the birth certificate of a young worker who may be underage. This thoroughness produces results that can be trusted. It makes clear to producers that employment practices and working conditions will be fully evaluated and problems cannot be covered over.

The town of Panipat is an important carpet producing center in the state of Haryana, two hours north of Delhi. It grew up about 25 years ago, when the government gave incentives to companies to kick start industries that would spur economic development and employment. A large number of factories produce rugs mainly for export, using different production methods – hand looms and mechanical looms for flat woven carpets; hand tufting and machine tufting for pile carpets.

Edward MillardGoodWeave India has a small office in Panipat, with a team of experienced auditors. Two of these, Avtar Singh and Ashok Yadav, accompanied me and other GoodWeave colleagues around Panipat on the second day of my visit. They told me that they spend an average of six hours undertaking an annual audit of a factory, ensuring that they obtain and verify all the information they need to evaluate compliance with the GoodWeave Standard. Moreover, they will come back three or four times during the year completely unannounced, to ensure that conditions remain satisfactory. That is not ticking boxes; it is doing the job with the thoroughness that major brands and retailers expect when they sign-up to the GoodWeave certification system.

But that is in fact only the start of the inspection process. GoodWeave has 37 active licensee exporters managing factories in Panipat. It is unusual to find cases of child labor in them. These factories are subject to inspection by the Indian government, other labor certification schemes that international customers use, such as SA8000, and sometimes by the customers directly. Where child labor is found is in the 367 other production units that supply rugs to the 37 exporters, over and above their factory production. These units are hidden away in the back streets and never visited during the other inspections. The unique value of the GoodWeave system is to identify and locate these units and include them in the audit report.

Avtar, Ashok and the other inspectors achieve this in three ways. First, they crosscheck production records against sales and demonstrate to the exporter that they know that most of the production is occurring outside the factory. Then they sit down with the exporter to determine where these other units are. Finally, with the same discipline of verifying information that they bring to the factory inspection, they talk to people, walking around the streets and visiting houses where production takes place, to build up a complete picture of an exporter’s supply chain. They often identify production units that have not been disclosed to them.

Edward MillardWe visited a number of these so-called second and third tier workshops – third tier if they are supplying to another intermediary between them and the exporter. Working conditions are not good. You immediately notice the lack of light and ventilation. Washroom facilities are poor and there are no places where workers can take their breaks and lunches. The GoodWeave Standard incorporates criteria on working conditions, beyond the absence of any child, forced or bonded labor. These criteria enable the inspectors to point out the improvements that are required and will soon become part of the official audit. One unit we visited had recently established an extractor fan to improve the flow of fresh air. Such improvements would not happen had GoodWeave not found the workshop and brought it into the inspection system.

It is this ability to understand how the carpet supply chain works and to build a robust auditing system that covers all the seen and unseen parts that make the GoodWeave certification so valuable. The week before my visit, the auditors found three cases of child labor in these backstreet workshops. That’s three less children being deprived of school and a reminder to the carpet industry in Panipat that GoodWeave is effective in finding out what it may not want to reveal.

 

 
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