On one of her first trips to Jaipur India, Maggie met an Irish Jewelry Designer by the name of Katrina. A conversation ensued… Katrina was working with an Indian run charity called I-India (http://www.i-indiaonline.com/) and helping them setup a jewelry making program. Katrina invited Maggie out to I-India where she met Mr. Goswami and his wife Abha. Prabhakar and Abha work tirelessly on I-India’s many projects. Maggie decided to sponsor the Ladli jewelry vocational program that Katrina was helping setup. Ladli provides the kids with a trade and also generates funds to keep the program going through the sale of their jewelry. 100% of the purchase price you pay for Ladli jewelry goes back to I-India’s Ladli Project. We’ve been able to provide them with about $4K per year. Unfortunately, this last August (2012) I-India suffered severe flood damage from a once-in-a-lifetime storm and so we have very little Ladli jewelry left but will replenish as soon as we can.
One of our ambitions was to find a manufacturer of high quality cashmere knitwear. Where better to find this than the source. Nepalese knitters have been manufacturing high quality cashmere products from the wool they obtain from their Tibetan neighbors for generations. In February of 2006 we travelled to Nepal on our quest for cashmere. Nepal, a then Kingdom, had been fighting an insurrection by Maoist Rebels for the previous decade. The day after we arrived, the Rebels called a general strike and in retaliation the King implemented a curfew. As foreigners, we could travel about freely (on foot) but the Nepalese were shut in and the country was, for the most part, shut down. Businesses that catered to foreigners (tourists) were allowed to operate. Close to our hotel was a local watering hole named “Buddha Bar”. It was there that we met, yet again, a kind Irish soul by the name of Declan Murphy. A teacher, by training, Declan had travelled to Nepal as a young man and was captivated by the lovely Nepalese and deeply affected by the plight of street kids he saw roaming the tourists districts of Kathmandu. A man of conviction… he decided to do something about it and set up an organization called “just-one” (http://www.just-one.org/) to get the kids off the streets, into school, and oftentimes back with their families. Ticket proceeds from many of our events are donated to “just-one”.