|Home | Issues | The Daily Star Home | Volume 5, Issue 36, Tuesday September 16, 2008|
Tucked in a cozy corner beside the grand lobby of the Westin Hotel is a warmly lit, colourful little shop called Insignia. Enter that shop and your eyes will be sure to flit towards the left wall which is lined with cane shelves displaying some very cute baby clothes and sweaters, intricately embroidered and knitted by hand. These are the products of Hathay Bunano, a non-profit organization that has been trying to create rural employment, particularly for women with young children who traditionally find it very difficult to find employment.
According to Samantha Morshed, CEO of Hathay Bunano, their main objective is to create rural employment that is fairly paid, local and flexible. They want to create opportunities for employment that will not hamper the employees' personal lives in any way, employment that will not call for economic migration or family separation. Principles of fair trade, such as transparency and accountability, gender equality, promotion of fair trade, payment of fair wages and safe working conditions are strictly followed. There is no scope for child labour and Hathay Bunano makes sure these rules and principles are followed at each step.
Hathay Bunano is striving to change attitudes towards the disabled in Bangladesh and is committed to creating employment opportunities for them. They are working in conjunction with the Centre for Rehabilitation of the Paralysed (CRP) in providing employment opportunities for women who have completed rehabilitation in the CRP. These women are employed as trainers in their organization.
The current workforce of this social business enterprise amounts to about 2500, working in their 32 rural centres spread throughout the country. A rural centre is actually a small production unit of 50-100 women and aims to provide work within the community, in the process preventing workers from migrating to the cities. These rural centres enable the effective and efficient training and production work to be carried out in a supervised environment and the result is a strengthening and expansion of the rural economy.
Hathay Bunano's products all cater to the needs of babies, a segment that is not widely catered to yet. Their products include baby clothes, soft toys, sweaters and a lot more. These products were mainly exported to the UK, USA and Australia due to the high demand for hand knitted, crocheted and embroidered products there, and the products met a phenomenal response. However, due to the rise in local demand, Hathay Bunano's products are now available in Insignia, a souvenir shop at the Westin. Hathay Bunano is also planning to have some of their products displayed at Jalalabad Furnitures, where they will be supplying soft baby quilts, toy boxes, etc., all hand-made by the rural women.
Hathay Bunano has plans to expand in the near future. They would like to have their own retail outlets in the country, as well as export their products to Asian countries like Nepal and Malaysia, where they hope to meet a good demand for hand-made products like theirs. They are already setting up new centres in different places in the countries and are expanding the existing ones.
Drop by at Insignia to have a look at Hathay Bunano's products, knitted with love and care and devotion by hard-working rural women, which will be sure to enhance your baby's comfort.
By Wasia Mehnaz
At some point of life or another, we can't help but get nostalgic about our sweet and innocent childhood memories. Remembering those carefree school days, piles of homework, the strawberry flavoured toothpaste, swinging on the swing with that pony tailed little girl or playing 'catch-catch' with that toothless boy always brings a smile to the face, no matter what. And it is then that we suddenly start missing those days, missing our earliest buddies, with whom we grew up, shared our boundless joys and fairytale fantasies. All the memories might be bleak now, but they provide us with a rush of warmth that no other relationship can.
School buddies have a very special position in everyone's life; they have known us from the earliest stage of our lives, with them we shared our endless rambles, with whom we learned the spellings and swayed along reciting poems from Silver Bells, with whom we drew our first graffiti on benches, who have been our partner in crime- always. Back in those days, they were among the few important people around whom our small world revolved.
With the transitions of life, and with our own metamorphoses in growing up, many of us have lost in touch with our school friends. Blame it on the passage of time, blame it on the cycle of changes, blame it on the situation, the fact remains same. To a lot among us, school buddies are now reduced to known faces encountered at yearly get-togethers, friends who we call up once in a while, just to chat. We have become highly technical, so engrossed by ourselves that we have no time to make a childhood bond of friendship survive with all its colour.
The scenario is not too uncommon. These are the precious bonds that need to be nurtured with love and warmth throughout our lifetime. The friendships that we share with our school buddies are always precious. You may strike up innumerable new relationships in your lifetime, but you can't make a childhood friend.
They remain as one of the very few types of relationships that make you feel like yourself, take you back to your golden days, make you burst out laughing as you remember a silly prank or childhood crush. They take you to your old fantasy days even when you are sunk deep in a whirlpool of crude reality. They remain, having a very special position in our lives, that can't be altered or replaced.
It doesn't take a calendar to stay in touch with old pals. Just a phone call, useless giggles, recollection of silly days makes you connect, just like that. After all, they are the ones who have known us since we even started to know our own selves. Taking a day out with school buddies always rejuvenates those memories, and ultimately, the spirit. These are the bonds, cherished forever in alleys of our heart; they can't be replaced, can't be renewed. Because they stay forever young- with their ponytails and toothless smiles.
By Zannatul Lamea
On The Cover
As the festival cranks into the next level, we're getting our glam on. Hop aboard as we travel the world of fashion on Global Trends (see page 8-9) and ante up your make-up with these special make-up tips (page 4,5).
Sharmeenz for Eid
Made solely from local materials, the saris of Sharmeenz stand out in sheer sophistication and grace. Using the canvas of jamdani, handloom cotton, silk and Benarasi, the designer has made ample use of hand block prints. Once embellished, these classic saris make new statements, bold and vivid, which would appeal to those who seek fusion in their wardrobe. Prices range from takas 700-15000.
Persona's Eid offer
This Eid, Persona offers discount privileges to all respected clients of Persona, Habibs@Persona and Persona Adams at different boutique and stores around the city. Just place your membership card at the following stores to avail discount privileges on all purchase- Rang, Nittoupohar, Nogordola, Noboni Collection, Shell Designs, Shankha Bar, Arabian Jewellery, Maduli, Star World Mall Ltd, O2, Khan Brothers. The offer is valid till eve of Eid.
Can any amount be purchased for sanchaypatra?
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