GoodWeave in the News

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Market Initiative to Reach Nepal’s Brick Workers 

Market Initiative to Reach Nepal’s Brick Workers

This month marks the start of a new brick-making season in Nepal, and for tens of thousands of children, it means returning to labor in one of the world’s most exploitative sectors.

As Nepal rebuilds from the devastating 2015 earthquakes and the demand for bricks grows, it is a critical time to ensure appropriate worker protection in this industry. Launched in 2013 in collaboration with Global Fairness Initiative and Humanity United, the Better Brick Nepal program applies a labor Standard for kilns defining the necessary conditions to be considered free from child, forced and bonded labor. Forty kilns are now participating in the program and actively working to improve conditions for workers.

A recent PBS NewsHour report highlights Better Brick and provides a rare glimpse inside Nepal’s brick industry.

 

 

Bringing Child Friendly Communities to Rajasthan, India 

Bringing Child-Friendly Communities to Rajasthan, India

Rajasthan is one of India’s largest states, and its capital, Jaipur, is a tourist attraction amongst Indian and international travelers. But its rural villages often struggle with high poverty, inadequate working conditions, unemployment and poor quality public schools. This leads parents to put their children to work rather than send them to school.

In 2015, with the generous support of the Janet Wright Ketcham Foundation, GoodWeave brought its Child-Friendly Community (CFC) project to five carpet weaving villages in Rajasthan to address these very challenges. The primary goal is to ensure that children, especially girls, are removed from situations of exploitative labor and acute vulnerability, and brought into classrooms. The CFC approach has a wide, community-level impact including changing mindsets about the value of education, improving school and instructional quality for all children, building community cohesion, and inspiring community activism for infrastructure and other improvements beyond the educational system. The result is a permanent change in participating communities with “spillover” effects often seen in neighboring villages, which are inspired to replicate activities based on the results. To date, this work has reached 14 villages in rural Rajasthan and put 1088 children into school.

 

 

“A Missed Opportunity”: India passes the Child Labor Amendment Bill of 2016 

September 28, 2016

On July 19, 2016, the Government of India made controversial amendments to its three-decades-old child labor law. Nobel laureate and GoodWeave founder, Kailash Satyarthi, declared the bill a “missed opportunity,” because the loopholes it creates will likely increase exploitation of the most vulnerable children. Here’s what you need to know:

The good news: Employment of children below 14 years is now a criminal offense, as is employment of adolescents aged 14 to 18 in hazardous conditions. The bill also provides for more stringent punishments and fines for offenders.

The very bad news: The law now permits children under 14 to work in "family-owned" enterprises after school hours and during school holidays, effectively creating a significant loophole that will render millions of child labor cases invisible and legal. The definition of “family” extends beyond the child’s nuclear family to also include aunts and uncles.

Dangerously loose definitions: The law’s use of “family enterprise” leaves children open to even greater exploitation and creates enormous monitoring and enforcement challenges. With companies increasingly subcontracting work to individual households for extremely low wages, the “family enterprise” exception serves to legitimize exploitation of children in the most vulnerable families.

Creating barriers to academic success: The law sets poverty-stricken children up for failure by allowing them to work before and after school rather than focus on homework and sleep, which leads to a lack of concentration and low performance. Unable to balance work and school, most children are forced to give up the latter.

Greater risk for young workers: The list of 28 sectors that the new law identifies as amounting to “hazardous conditions” is very limited and comprises less than half of the professions and jobs in the previous law that barred young children from performing. For example, the entire agricultural sector, including the use of pesticides, is not included in the new list – and neither are garment factories, spinning mills and weaving and dyeing units.

 

 

Tracing Apparel Supply Chains 

Tracing Apparel Supply Chains

In this era of fast fashion, even the most well-intentioned brands lack full knowledge of their production sources, many of which lie far outside of factory walls in a complicated network of small-scale sub-contractors. It is in this “informal” portion of the labor force where the most extreme exploitation is usually found. These challenges provoked a question: Could GoodWeave’s system, that has been so successful in the rug industry, work in apparel?

To answer that, GoodWeave launched a pilot in northern India in partnership with the global retailer C&A and C&A Foundation. During this two-year project -- set for wider industry adoption -- GoodWeave will design and test a new sourcing system to identify and eliminate child and forced labor with an emphasis on homeworkers. In partnership with local producers and communities, GoodWeave will develop systems to ensure child protection, access to education and improved working conditions for women.

More information will follow soon about ways that NGO, company, donor and expert colleagues might engage in this project. Interested individuals may also get in touch.

 

 

Business and Human Rights in the United States: A Call to Action for the U.S. Presidential Candidates 
Open Letter
September 27, 2016

On September 26, in the lead up to the first U.S. presidential debate of the 2016 election, ICAR has submitted a "Business and Human Rights Primer" to the U.S. presidential candidates. Read the open letter here.

With this letter, ICAR calls on the candidates to prioritize business and human rights issues during this final stage of the election, and beyond. Specifically, ICAR calls on the candidates to:

1. Commit to full implementation and review of the National Action Plan on Responsible Business Conduct.

2. Enhance regulation of business activity to prevent human rights abuse in the first place, including through public procurement processes.

3. Implement full and public country-by-country reporting as an integral step to ensuring that corporations uphold human rights by paying their fair share of tax.

4. Work to ensure effective remedy for victims of corporate related human rights violations.

5. Prosecute human rights violators at the corporate and individual level.

6. Commit to working collaboratively with a broad range of stakeholders and demonstrate leadership, both domestically and internationally, on business and human rights.

 

 

GoodWeave welcomes new partner with stellar commitment to sustainability 

For Immediate Release

Contact: Cara Hagan at Cara@GoodWeave.org or +1-202-234-9050

GoodWeave welcomes new partner with stellar commitment to sustainability

Washington, DC, September 8, 2016 – Fab Habitat, widely recognized for its sustainable practices and extensive collection of rugs made of recycled materials, has joined forces with GoodWeave to help put an end to child labor in the carpet industry. “Being part of GoodWeave just makes sense,” explains Suchin Gupta, who cofounded Fab Habitat with his wife Kanan Gupta. “It’s a way to make sure our product stays true to our values."/p>

Fab Habitat’s collection includes colorful rugs fashioned from inventive materials, such as recycled soda bottles, multi-colored drinking straws, recycled cotton and recycled rubber tire tubes woven into polypropylene. The Guptas are constantly exploring the use of new eco-friendly materials including renewable resources, such as fast-growing jute. The eco-friendly materials and practices are important, the couple says, but being ethical at every step of production is too. “We want to support the weaving community,” says Kanan. “Partnering with GoodWeave will help us with our mission, and our customers can rest assured that we are doing everything we can to help end child labor.”

GoodWeave is just as pleased with the partnership. “Fab Habitat’s corporate values are so aligned with GoodWeave,” says Nina Smith, founding CEO of GoodWeave International. “They’ve already pushed the envelope on environmental sustainability, and we’re proud to be able to ensure their products’ strong social standards, especially when it comes to child labor.”


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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.

 

 

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 

 
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