Reporting from: Nepal
Local Contact: Tara Bradford
What kind of work are you doing in Nepal?
In Nepal, I visited Tibetan refugees at the Jawalakhel Handicraft Center. Located at the Tibetan Refugee Camp in Patan, the center has provided a steady income for women who hand-weave rugs and carpets using ancient methods since 1960. Women of all ages spin, dye and weave rugs in unheated rooms, using only natural light. Much of their work is tedious, yet the women seem cheerful and/or resigned to their situation. Some older women sing to themselves or chant prayers while spinning wool.
What have you seen there that inspires you artistically, creatively or otherwise?
The Tibetans in Nepal are stateless, unable to return to their homeland. Most Tibetans have stories of unimaginable hardship and personal loss. Yet they make the best of reduced circumstances, while faithfully adhering to traditions within their community. It’s inspiring that no matter the obstacle, the Tibetans’ pride and determination to preserve their heritage never wavers.
What can our readers do to support the work you are doing and/or other needs in Nepal?
The Jawalkhel Handicraft Center maintains a cooperative society, a school, sanitation and healthcare for its workers. Many Tibetans are dependent upon the center. If you travel to Nepal, please consider visiting the Jawalkhel Handicraft Center’s rug-making operations. You may purchase beautiful rugs in their on-site showroom or online. You may also order rugs custom-made to your specifications.
Jawalakhel Handicraft Center (Pvt) Ltd.
P.O. Box # 263
Kathmandu – Nepal
Tara Bradford is a writer and photographer based in Amsterdam. She is currently involved in a project chronicling the lives of flamenco dancers in Sevilla, Spain. You can view her photography at TaraBradfordPhotography.com
Christine Mason Miller is a writer and mixed-media artist who loves to travel, wander and explore, whether on her own or vicariously through others. Her next book, Desire to Inspire: Using Creative Passion to Transform the World, will be released in November 2011 by North Light Books. Visit her at www.christinemasonmiller.com. Eager for more of her travel musings? Visit www.gypsygirlsguide.com.
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