Jyoti Raj, GoodWeave Inspectorby Jyoti Raj
My name is Jyoti Raj, and I am 28 years old. I come from Jhapa District, a semi-urban farming area about 350 miles to the east of Kathmandu. My family is middle class and we came to live in Kathmandu four years ago to look for better jobs and educational opportunities. I live with my family—my parents, younger brother, and my wife and daughter, who are all dependent on me.
I work for Nepal GoodWeave Foundation, and my job is to inspect the rug production factories, talk to owners and workers and generally raise awareness about GoodWeave and children’s rights. I also coordinate the GoodWeave mobile health camp, but my priority is the children, so I check how the education and community-based rehabilitation programs are running.
When I find a needy child working in a rug factory, I try to persuade them to leave and come with me; sometimes it takes several weeks until they trust me. Also, the factory owner and guardians of the child often need convincing of the importance of the child coming to Hamro Ghar, the GoodWeave rehabilitation center, to live and study. When they do come with me, I feel very satisfied.
I don't have high ambitions and lead quite a simple life. When I am not working, I like to visit the Hindu temple with my family – especially on holy days. For the future, I want to complete my master's degree and go on to do social work for the rural poor. I would also like to build a small house for my family and secure my daughter's future.
The uncertain future of our nation worries me, as do the miserable conditions that the “rug children” live in. I believe it is important to work and live for others, not just ourselves, so I would like to dedicate my whole life to those rural people who are illiterate, unemployed, indigenous and vulnerable.
In my opinion, GoodWeave is vitally important to Nepal. Nepal is one of the poorest countries in the world and the rug industry is its second biggest industry, after tourism. Without GoodWeave, the rug industry would be finished. There would be no awareness of not using children. Plus, GoodWeave takes these children and gives them the opportunity to be educated and useful citizens; this of course has a positive impact on the future of our nation.
So, my message to anyone buying a rug is please think about what you buy, as you could change the fate of these children.
You can help us end child labor and transform the lives of the thousands of children trapped in carpet work by making a tax-deductible (USA only) donation today. Every dollar makes a difference.
At the age of five, Manju was already working on the rug looms. While she has since been found and freed from illegal carpet work, some 250,000 children throughout South Asia still toil in obscurity. Through GoodWeave nearly 3,600 kids like Manju have been rescued, rehabilitated and educated, and thousands more deterred from entering the work force.More Stories »
GoodWeave is a full-member of the ISEAL Alliance, the global association for sustainability standards whose Codes of Good Practice are seen as global references for developing and implementing credible standards.