CARE Knows How Living Blue Makes Green

CARE Knows How Living Blue Makes Green

 

CARE has learned over the years how to harness the power of inclusive businesses to spur development. With the right support, these gateway enterprises have the potential to become powerful partners and vehicles for lasting change in areas where markets are underdeveloped.

Nijera Cottage and Village Industries (NCVI) is a worker- and artisan-owned social enterprise that represents groups that work in Bangladesh.

Their “Living Blue” collection of textiles represents the best of Bangladesh khetas and is created for high-end markets. In these original and exquisite quilts, Bengal tradition lives through variety of unique quilting expressions, distinct techniques and patterns and designs that reflect local geographies. The distinct feature of these khetas is the texture, known as ‘dheu.’ The dheu, or the ‘wave’, creates a ripple effect, created by using layers of khadi fabric and the application of the jod and bejod kheta stitches. It creates a distinctive surface texture that brings to mind flowing water. Living Blue khetas have been dyed with Bengal ‘true’ natural indigo, made by women who are considered master artisans.

NCVI has created markets with Couleur Garance of France, Sally Campbell of Australia and Plantation House of India, all of which place regular Living Blue orders.

A percentage of the profits is put into dividends and bonuses, but also into medical insurance, savings funds and educational institutions to meet the social and economic needs of the communities in which these enterprises are based. NCVI strengthens democratic practices at the local level through economic activities. It is a social economy where citizens are directly involved in regional economic development, where the village is not just a residential space, but an economic hub with the potential to grow.

Results:

Total sanitation for over 100 communities involving 7,500 families, increased agricultural wages for 2,435 people and reduction in hunger for 1,415 families in 121 communities, through alternative agriculture – vine potatoes, turmeric and ginger cultivation – collective savings of rice and cash, negotiating access to public lands and water bodies, and ensuring the functioning of state-funded entitlement programs.

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