THE ARTISAN : JEEVANKALA
Based out of Nepal and a member of the Fair Trade Federation, JeevanKala is a social enterprise dedicated to supporting artisans and their economic development. In Nepali, “Jeevan” means life, while “Kala” means art. Therefore, the name JeevanKala means “Art for Life.” Each product from JeevanKala is artisan-made; JeevanKala currently employs approximately 200 artisans who are between the ages of 25 and 50. Many of the artisans working with JeevanKala are single mothers, widows, and individuals with disabilities. Many have also been affected by the caste system in Nepal and are known as “untouchables,” an oppressed group of individuals. Prior to working with JeevanKala, some of the women were working in the carpet market, which went through a serious downturn, leaving some of them unemployed and at risk of human trafficking.
Now with the support of JeevanKala, these women are able to primarily work from home and have flexible schedules. More than 1,000 artisans have received training and employment opportunities through JeevanKala, which developed out of a crafts program of Himalayan HealthCare. Himalayan HealthCare is a nonprofit 501(c)3 charitable organization that has been in Nepal for 25 years. Every purchase of products made by artisans working with JeevanKala goes toward supporting the artisans and their families and providing them with fair wages, as well as toward supporting the healthcare and education programs of Himalayan HealthCare, which is JeevanKala’s parent organization.