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An hour or so by the side of the road on the outskirts of Bhadohi... not even a broken down car can stop Custom Cool from our hard work!!

An hour or so by the side of the road on the outskirts of Bhadohi… not even a broken down car can stop Custom Cool from our hard work!!

The carpet industry supply chain in action:  villagers throughout Bhadohi work at home weaving, carding and spinning wool.

The carpet industry supply chain in action: villagers throughout Bhadohi work in local homes and courtyards weaving, carding and spinning wool.

 A basic sign on the way to the GoodWeave villiage

A basic sign on the way to the GoodWeave villiage

The kids were thrilled to meet Liz Benincasa whose playfulness brought huge smiles to all their faces - and much laughter to all!

The kids were thrilled to meet Liz Benincasa whose playfulness brought huge smiles to all their faces – and much laughter to all!

Beautiful Children with crazy baby goats and textile designers!

Beautiful Children with crazy baby goats and textile designers!

We have spent a lot of time with manufacturers of textiles whilst here in India, however the highlight of the trip has been our visit to the GoodWeave Motivation and Learning Centre in Bhadohi, one of the poorest areas within Uttar Pradesh.  This area is where the majority of rugs that make their way to western markets are made.

The Two gentleman who accompanied us on our visit work tirelessly for GoodWeave inspecting factories & mentoring children rescued from carpet looms throughout 13 communities in this area.  Manoj Bhatt and Prasoon Shanker are our heroes now.  Their work is endless, vast and surely daunting – however child by child, home by home, village by village they work through GoodWeave to enlighten people living in poverty as to the essential importance of education for children and the most basic of human rights within the workplace.

Custom Cool with Neman Carpets, one of the first rug manufacturers to become GoodWeave certified in India - and our new heroes, Manoj  (third in from left) and Prasoon (second in from right).

Custom Cool with Neman Carpets, one of the first rug manufacturers to become GoodWeave certified in India – and our new heroes, Manoj (third in from left) and Prasoon (second in from right).

Here is an excerpt from my thank you letter to Manoj and Prasoon written just after our time with them.  There is little else I can say regarding my gratitude for their efforts and the beautiful work of GoodWeave then what follows here:

Dear Manoj and Prasoon,

There truly aren’t enough words for me to be able to express the deep gratitude I feel for the challenging and life changing work you do.  In our conversations yesterday we came to many moments of silent contemplation where we seemed to hit a wall regarding the magnitude and scope of the problems relating to labor and the supply chain within the carpet making industry of India.  I know there were several times I felt a kind of wave of defeat in terms of how much I could really do to bring about any change to the vast human exploitation at the foundation of the billion dollar carpet industry.
 
I can say though that the conviction and determination that you both shared with us yesterday –  your bold ideas, hard work and hands on efforts – conquer any doubt I have that these problems will not be erradicated in our lifetime.  You and GoodWeave fill me with the hope that what is right and just will in fact win the day both in India as well as Nepal and with luck through the rest of Asia as well.
 
The Goodweave Villiage and Motivation and Learning Center/School we visited in Bhadohi yesterday was truly inspiring!  This is clearly just the first step in helping communities overcome poverty and come to value the priceless nature of an education for their children.  The beautiful songs we heard some of the children sing, their gratitude for our visit and the sound of their laughter is something I will remember forever.  That my company can help to support this and other projects like it here in India is a profound honor and privilege for all of us at Custom Cool… 
 
…The work you do is the fundamental key to bringing change to the lives of the carpet workers of India.  We could pour our money and support into your country but without your hands on hard work little would come of it. Please know we will keep you in our prayers and thoughts daily.  Never get discouraged and keep forging forward.  Your work may be very very hard, and perhaps discouraging at times – but when you rescue even one child from slavery, enable just one individual to overcome their poverty through the education you bring to them – all your hard work finds its true reward.  You are blessed – and a blessing to so many.
 
With Love and Gratitude,
 
Eliza and the entire Custom Cool team
Eliza having a chat with just some of the children from the GoodWeave Motivation and Learning Centre

Eliza having a chat with just some of the children from the GoodWeave Motivation and Learning Centre

Writing a note to the Children

Writing a note to the Children

Every Child should have the basic human right to an education. GoodWeave is helping bring this right to the many children of the Indian carpet industry.

Every Child should have the basic human right to an education. GoodWeave is helping bring this right to the many children of the Indian carpet industry.

We are looking forward now to visiting our GoodWeave certified rug makers here in India –  then we are off to Nepal!  When in Katmandu we will visit more GoodWeave facilities and will share another glimpse into the lives of those GoodWeave has touched.
Were it not for the gentle and tactful work of GoodWeave many young Muslim girls in India, such as these students, would face only the prospect of child marriage without hope of an education.

Were it not for the gentle and tactful work of GoodWeave many young Muslim girls in India, such as these students, would face only the prospect of child marriage without hope of an education.

Namaskar ,
 ( “With all the depths and charms of my mind
and all the love and cordiality of my heart, the divinity
within me greets the divinity within you”)
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