Greetings from Himalayan Naari!
We are pleased to let you know that Himalayan Naari has been surviving and thriving through the pandemic. Our members have remained healthy and have been able to keep knitting and weaving. Their work was especially critical because many family members were unable to work during the strict lockdown which was in force.
As you probably know, we opened our on-line store in the winter of 2020. Between the on-line store and our retail partners, we have been able to return to and exceed our pre-pandemic sales levels. We were able to do this in spite of the loss of craft fairs, which were our traditional source of revenue.
With the aim of building healthy and resilient communities in the hills, we are happy to announce Himalayan Naari embarked on new initiatives last year. Several donor organizations contributed to Naari’s activities in 2021. This support enabled the group to take up two important projects: Women and Girls Health Initiative and setting up a Naari store.
Medical Camp for women and girls
Dr. Kathleen Bollerud, founder of Himalayan Naari and HEF board member, remarks, “The women and girls of the community have long recognized the need for health care and health education in rural areas. Keepers of the Earth Foundation (KOEF) and Paxworks in conjunction with generous local support from the Siment Foundation and a local medical team made this care possible now.”
In October 2021, a Medical Camp was conducted at Himalayan Inter College in which 29 Naari members and 178 school girls participated. Health checkups were done by a team of eight health workers headed by Dr. Manisha Samant from the Community Health Center in Berinag.
Medical tests and health checkups at the camp
A session on women’s hygiene and health
An educational seminar on women’s health and hygiene was conducted by Dr. Manisha with the help of Devbala Bisht, Principal, HIC; Mamta Takuli, the manager of Himalayan Naari; and our new associate, Aishwarya Vatsal.
Books and medical Kits- just for girls
As part of a holistic approach to women and girls’ health, Naari women and the school girls are focusing on menstrual health and the use of sustainable products. PaxWorks has generously assisted the Women and Girls Health Initiative by providing funds for a pilot project to make washable, reusable menstrual pads. With Paxworks support, we are able to purchase a heavy-duty sewing machine and materials for this pad project. The Siment Foundation also provided 400 sample pads for the community.
Naari members will begin this effort by making pads for themselves and the school girls. Julie Phippen, the founder of Sewpportive Friends, a volunteer project that provides pads to marginalized communities in Africa, is planning to come to Chakouri and provide training in pad production.
Himalayan Naari Store – A new startup venture
Now in another major step forward, visitors to Chaukori, a well-known tourist place in the Himalayas, can directly purchase the creations of Naari artisans from the newly opened Himalayan Naari store.
Sheetal Arya – our new Sales Associate
With the help of Paxworks, we have furbished a beautiful space to sell our products.
Customers can also interact with the members and learn about the process of making woolens and how the activities of the group are benefiting the local community.
Naari artisans at the center
Our new Associates
We want to welcome Aishwarya Vatsal, an advocate (attorney) who has joined Himalayan Naari recently. In the fall, Aishwarya and her husband moved to the local community and became involved in our efforts. With her legal background and excellent writing, Aishwarya is bringing important skills to our local team.
Himalayan Naari combines local knitting knowledge with fashionable designs in making our products. This year Leslie Voiers, a colorist from New Hampshire, has joined our volunteer team. Leslie is helping to select the color palette of our 2022 collection. This should make our products even more interesting.
Leslie is a textile designer located in Harrisville, NH. She has designed hats, clothing, blankets and rugs. In addition to her work as a colorist, Leslie has been a teacher and author of books about fibers and weaving.
With these initiatives and our new partners, we look forward to a productive and exciting new year.
Thank you, friends, for all your support!
– The Naari Team
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