While studying abroad in Nepal, I conducted research on women's development through the fair trade craft industry. Spending time in Pokhara, I worked with the Women Skill Development Organization (WSDO). This organization is a fair trade certified group of about 200 women, working in fair conditions. My research asked whether or not the fair trade certification actually provides fair conditions for those involved. WSDO has experience working in this business for over forty years, and while there are many things to improve, such as provide more technical skills in business development and money management, this organization gives women in a patriarchal society the opportunity to work and have a safe place to build relationships. When compared to another women’s craft organization, WSDO and the fair trade certification proved to be important and meaningful.
The women in the picture are apart of the assembly line system at WSDO, weaving together the hand-dyed fibers, which will then be sewn into various products, packaged, and shipped.