Pebble Child products are made by Hathay Bunano, a non-profit fairtrade organisation in Bangladesh. Its mission is to create, fairly paid, good quality, flexible and local employment for rural women, whose job prospects are otherwise minimal.
Hathay Bunano aims to provide employment that keeps rhythm with rural life, preventing families from being separated through workers being forced to cities in search of work.
Tim and Jane Francis introduced Pebble Child to New Zealand after purchasing a product as a gift. They later discovered its fairtrade origins and loved the story behind the product.
“Bangladesh is colourful and exciting, busy and chaotic. It’s a place you can’t really imagine until you have visited. It’s also a place of incredible poverty and of people who are so strong and resilient, regardless of what life throws at them,” says Jane.
“It feels great to be able to support the women who create such beautiful, high quality products.”
Jane (left) and Tim (right) while visiting the Hathay Bunano school
As New Zealand’s exclusive distributors of Pebble Child products, Tim and Jane visited the urban centre in Dhaka again recently and met some of the many women working there. They also met employees’ children, who are taught in classrooms provided by Hathay Bunano.
“It was awesome to see them getting opportunities that would not otherwise be available. They sang a song for us in English and took great delight in showing us what they have learned," says Tim.
Hathay Bunano, which means “hand made“ in Bangla, was founded in 2004 by Briton Samantha Morshed, who moved from the United Kingdom with her British Bangladesh husband. Samantha realised that she had a moral obligation to put whatever skills she had to use, to help in any way. The women of Bangladesh make beautiful things as part of their culture and heritage, so it was not a great leap to teach them knitting and crochet skills - creating a sustainable and flexible employment option for disadvantaged rural women.
Samantha’s husband joined her in setting up rural production centres and arranging training courses as Hathay Bunano expanded. It now employs more than 4000 people – predominantly women – in 54 rural centres. Pebble Child products are available in hundreds of boutiques and gift shops around the world, supporting the women of Bangladesh to be self-reliant and provide for their families.
Pebble Artisans with Founder of Hathay Bunano - Samantha Morshed (right picture)