You may remember learning about one of our suppliers, Beni, in a blog post we wrote last summer. Beni is one of our suppliers in Nepal who has dedicated her life to helping women in her community overcome difficult situations and life circumstances. We recently heard from her and have permission to share an incredible story about how YOU have been able to help her individually, as well as the artisans that work for her.
Over five years ago Beni separated from her violent husband who was volatile and dangerous to herself and their children. She endured a long, difficult divorce and eventually remarried David, who she is with today and who helps her run her manufacturing business. Beni and David bought land in Norway and in Kathmandu in order to establish some normality for their lives and businesses.
Soon after, a devastating earthquake destroyed 2 of their shops and a factory, as well as the local community. Beni and David were able to raise over $250,000 to rebuild the roofs on over 500 houses and build 3 schools! They acquired new shops, but because business did not go well, they were losing money fast. They were going bankrupt, and as they said, the "land laid bare."
Friends and family pitched in to help, and they were able to secure loans. At times they could not afford materials, owed money to vendors, and could not afford to pay their workers. They operated completely on trust, often only managing to feed them. Their workers lived in tin huts they built, so they didn't need to travel home each night. They called it the "Wild West." During that time there were so many issues to be worked through, particularly with some of their workers. They held organizing mini-marathons, Beni represented 11 of them women in divorces (and won every case!), and many of them had children in school.
The business also experienced difficulty with product. For example, a large zipper pouch order for Darn Good Yarn was shipped with wrongly-placed zippers. We chose not to penalize them, send the product back, or demand refund, so Beni's team was able to continue work without drowning.
There were other small victories along the way, and many people pitched in to sustain the work Beni and her team were doing in order to help the women around them. Some volunteers stayed for a month at a time or worked without pay, some purchasers paid over price to help, and some paid extra for shipping costs. This allowed them to continue to pay young girls who were funding their own education, thus making it possible for them to attend school. David sold his book collection, and Beni's family made donations. Workers and their families went without Christmas or Dasai presents.
Today, David and Beni have been able to build a new, large building where they have space for workers and volunteers to sleep and work in a clean, well-organized, and safe environment. Workers are now able to travel home at night to be with their families. Beni and David applied for themselves and their 3 children to gain residency in Norway, and got it. They now travel between their home in Norway and their business in Nepal, and are focusing their time, energy, and resources on helping women and children and maintaining the growth of their business. Their goal is to continue to support children receiving a Western education and work toward gaining Norwegian citizenship.
David's mantra is "give us one year." It's truly incredible to see what these wonderful people have been able to do for others in such a short period of time. It's such an honor for us, Darn Good Yarn, to be sourcing our products from people making real change in the world.
If you'd like to join us in helping these amazing people and their families, you can do so by supporting Darn Good Yarn and our mission. Every purchase you make here will go towards bettering the lives of those who need it.