Lotus Flower Photo Frame The Product

Lotus Flower Photo Frame
The Product
Handmade Paper: Handmade paper from
Bangladesh, India and Nepal is resourcefully created using plants and natural
fibres that are plentiful and environmentally sustainable. Jute, water hyacinth,
silk, cotton, bark from the Nepali lokta shrub and pineapple leaves, for
example, are commonly used to create paper products. These raw materials,
usually purchased locally, are chopped into small pieces with a hatchet and
then ground by a large, foot-driven pestle traditionally used for hulling rice.
This mixture is then boiled into a pulp that is floated in a large tub of water.
The women who make the paper lower hand-held screens into the tub, lifting
them once an even, thin sheet of paper has formed. Rag fibres, stems, or
flower petals are often added to provide texture.
Notably, most sheets of paper are bleached using environmentally safe
compounds; others are dyed with "AZO-free" dyes (which bind only to the
pulp fibres and not the waste water) in order to create beautiful, solidlycoloured paper. After a large pressing machine squeezes out the excess water,
the paper sheet is then transferred to a steel plate, dried in the hot sun and
carefully peeled off. From there it goes to the cutting room where it is
“calendared” to make it smooth and then cut to specific dimensions. This
elaborate process allows artisans to make a wonderful diversity of gorgeous
handmade paper products such as note cards, wrapping paper, journals, lamp
shades, and picture frames – all of which are acid free.
Batik: Batik is a centuries-old technique that uses wax to resist dyes,
practiced in many countries to create unique textiles and artistic pieces. To
begin the artistic process of batiking, original designs are traced by hand on
the material and then hand-painted using brushes or droppers. Next, hot wax is
applied to areas where colour is not desired; the material is then immersed into
the dye and the hot wax removed. This process of waxing and dyeing is
repeated as many times as is necessary to produced a beautiful, multi-coloured
design or picture. Each colour on the item represents a separate dyeing and
waxing process. Although batik was traditionally used to decorate cotton
fabric, the technique has been adapted for use on wood carvings and paper to
enable artisans to produce elaborately decorated pieces of art.
Frame your favourite photo in
flowers and see your memories
blossom! Paper handmade using
recycled scrap from local mills.
Travel the world with each visit
to Ten Thousand Villages.
Learn how Fair Trade really
makes a difference. Our goal is to
provide vital, fair income to
artisans by marketing their
handicrafts and telling their
stories in North America. Ten
Thousand Villages sells product
from more than 30 countries,
providing work for nearly 60,000
people around the world.
The Artisan Group: Prokritee
In 2003, the handicraft and export arm of Mennonite Central Committee Bangladesh officially
became a registered company called Prokritee, passing leadership to the Bangladeshi people in the
process. Prokritee oversees nine job creation programs. The programs focus on generating income for
the poorest people, mostly rural women, who are heads of households.
The current criteria for employment are:
(a) The artisan or her family cannot own more than 1/2 acre of land.
(b) The family must earn less than 1000 takas (US$25) a month.
(c) The artisan must otherwise be unemployed.
Meet An Artisan: Sanjita Halder
“Without this job I could not live,” says Sanjita Halder. She is building a brighter future for herself and her daughter, one
paper star at a time.
Cutting and assembling cards and stars from handmade paper in Jobarpar’s Bangladesh workshop, Sanjita has gained
newfound dignity. Her life has been difficult, but at Jobarpar she has discovered cause for hope and a sense of empowerment.
Married at a young age, Sanjita and her husband struggled with poverty after their small store closed. Their prospects
brightened when her husband found agricultural employment and she gave birth to a daughter named Ashima.
In 2005, Sanjita was widowed and left with inadequate income to raise Ashima when her husband fell from a tree. Her
problems were compounded by the discovery that she had inherited a series of loans taken out by her husband to support the
Faced with these bleak realities, Sanjita turned to Jobarpar for help. Now that she is reliably employed she is repaying her
debts, and hopes in the future to buy back the land she once owned. More significantly, she is able to send Ashima to school.
“My daughter is everything to me,” she says.
Sanjita enjoys working with the positive group of women at Jobarpar, and loves knowing that her work has value. Jobarpar is
a workshop employing 45 artisans who work primarily with paper, fibre and rope. The organization began as an arm of
Prokritee, a co-operative dedicated to job creation and income generation for the poorest people, most of whom are rural
women. Originally founded by MCC, the leadership is now entirely Bangladeshi.
The Country: Bangladesh
Bangladesh is a lush country with rich history and culture. Situated in The Ganges Delta, much of Bangladesh is densely
vegetated and highly fertile. Only in the far southeast and northeast of the country do hills rise above the plain.
Although Bangladesh has made significant strides in improving the lives of its people since gaining independence from
Pakistan in 1971, it still remains one of the poorest countries in the world, with nearly half of its 153 million people living
below the poverty line. Challenges are magnified by a population density of roughly 1000 people per square kilometre – one
of the highest globally.
Despite this, Bangladesh has managed - within the past decade - to reduce infant mortality by half, achieve 100 percent
primary school enrolment rates and increase adult literacy rates by 8 and 6 percent for women and men, respectively.
Reducing population growth, achieving near self-sufficiency in food production and attaining gender parity in school
enrollment rates are other notable accomplishments of recent years.
The agriculture sector is the single largest contributor to income and employment generation and a vital element in
Bangladesh’s challenge to reduce rural poverty and foster sustainable economic development. Nearly two-thirds of the
population is employed in the agriculture sector, with land mainly devoted to rice and jute cultivation. Unfortunately, heavy
rainfalls accompanying the monsoon season, combined with the impacts of deforestation and erosion, mean that
Bangladesh’s agricultural economy is vulnerable to both flood and drought conditions.
Finding alternative sources of employment will continue to be a challenge for Bangladesh, particularly with the increasing
numbers of landless peasants who already account for about half of the rural labor force. Handicraft production provides an
important source of supplemental income, especially for women.