Donate Design: Community in the Spotlight – Eternal Creation

Frances Carrington began her work in India with a project called Australian Volunteers Abroad.  She was offered the opportunity to work with Tibetan refugees at Norbalingka Institute (www.norbulingka.org), an organization that works to preserve and promote Tibetan Culture internationally.  She fell in love with the country and its people, and returned in 1999 with a $5000 loan from her father and started a small tailoring workshop at Gu-Chu-Sum, The Tibetan Former Political Prisoners Association.

The first three tailors were ex political prisoners tortured Chinese prisons.  The workshop has quickly grown in size and in 2006, she opened the Himalayan Tailoring Centre. Today the workshop provides employment for more than 80 families, about one third of whom are refugees while the rest are from local Indian communities and disadvantaged groups. The Centre and the Eternal Creation collection both have received official Fair Trade certification from New Zealand, Australia, the UK, and India.

The Dalai Lama personally visited the tailoring worships both at Norbulingka and Gu-Chu-Sum to express his gratitude for her efforts with Tibetans in exile.  She was inspired by the Dalai Lama holding her hand and saying thank you for her work.  Her greatest reward is bringing unskilled, uneducated people from disadvantaged backgrounds and providing them with an opportunity to learn new skills and work in a positive environment. After 12 months or a couple of years the employees just start to shine; they become good at their jobs and take so much pride in their work.  The transformation is not only as a person, but their entire lives change – they arrive poor and shy and soon become a positive and proud people who can afford to send their kids to school.

“I am very proud of the warm family atmosphere we have created here.   We offer free daycare to all our employees and everyone may take part in a healthy subsidized lunch prepared by our workshop chef, Bitu.  We all gather outside in the garden where all the children (and the workshop dogs) run about playing.  There is a badminton court where some serious steam is let off before returning to work.  Bitu makes his home-made chai for morning and afternoon tea breaks.  Those who live in villages or towns that are further away share a subsidized jeep to and from work each morning and evening.  We even have a no waste policy so the smallest fabric cuttings are donated to local village women who make and sell beautiful rag rugs to support their families.  ( http://gamruragrugs.blogspot.in/ ).  My kids arrive at the workshop from school around 3 and then are either put to work modelling for the catalogue or website, or they join the other kids at play.  My husband is the graphic designer so it really is a small family enterprise!”

Share in Frances’ work and add a fair trade item to your wardrobe!  Eternal Creations creates clothing items for men, women and children, so your family will find plenty to choose from.   ETERNAL CREATION

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