This lovely little hat is crocheted in pale pink decorated with a sweet bunny motif in cream – it is a perfect design for a new baby, complete with ear-flaps and made out of the softest pure organic cotton. One of the new, inventive creations of the fair trade Pebble brand, whose products are all made by hand by a women’s cooperative in Bangladesh, it will be kind to the delicate skin of the newborn, making an ideal present – one which is also environmentally sound!
- Sizes: 0-6 months; 6-12 months
- Material: 100% organic cotton
- Colours: Pink and Cream
- Pebble products are all made by hand in Bangladesh by a cooperative that provides high quality and secure jobs for 5,000 women,ensuring equitable pay, favourable working conditions, flexible working hours and the ability to work close to home.
- Machine Washable at 40º
About Samantha, foundress of this non-profit organisation.
Hathay Bunano is a non-profit organisation, that I started in 2004 shortly after my family moved en masse to Bangladesh. Bangladesh is an amazing country of vibrancy and energy; it's colourful and exciting, it's busy and chaotic. It's a place you really can't imagine until you've visited. It's also a place of incredible poverty and of people who are so strong and resilient regardless of what life throws at them.
In 2004 Bangladesh wasn't new to me. I made my first trip here in 1992 when Morshed, to whom I later married, and who is British Bangladeshi, wanted to show me where he had grown up and to introduce me to his mother and a land he loved.
It wasn't many days after arriving therefore in 2004, with two small boys in tow, that I realised that morally it was necessary for me to put whatever limited skills I had to some use to try to help in a small way. I have always loved crafts and the women of Bangladesh make beautiful things as part of their culture and heritage and so it wasn't such a great leap to teach some knitting and crochet skills and start to make toys that would likely have an eager customer base and could potentially bring sustainable and flexible employment to rural and disadvantaged women.
Soon my husband was working with me full-time setting up new rural production centres and arranging training courses as we were expanding. Now sometimes, I miss those early days sitting cross-legged on the floor in a remote village teaching groups of women to knit and learning Bangla from them at the same time, but I'm excited about where Pebble now is and the hope it brings to all the women we work with.
Concepts that led to the start of Hathay Bunano and later Pebble
For years I had visited Bangladesh and visited what the development arena call 'income generating projects' and never really understood the equation. The idea that microfinance alone could lead to the creation of income seemed to have a missing piece, which could be training, or skills, or business education. It could be any one of all sorts of things but from what I could see a parameter was missing and the equation should have read microfinance + X = income generating. This is a concept that is accepted by large parts of the microfinance industry but from what I could see, seemed to have been lost in the implementation and expansion of the industry. Indeed the industry is now changing a lot but back in 2004 this was 'new' thinking.
At the same time, it seemed to me that not everyone wants to be an entrepreneur and we need to create opportunities for those who simply want sustainable, regular, fairly paid employment. Hathay Bunano was started to demonstrate that it was in fact possible to create sustainable, flexible, fairly paid, local employment and to demonstrate that there would be a demand for this.
And then being in Bangladesh, it's impossible to ignore the huge ready made garments industry. This industry has grown enormously over the past 25 years and now employs millions of young women, something once thought unimaginable. Whilst it brings many benefits in terms of employment and economic development, it also has problems in terms of economic migration and long hours of work and again this was something that I sought to demonstrate an alternative to with Hathay Bunano.
Yet whilst RMG has problems, it has been hugely successful in the creation of mass garments for export, in stark contrast to the handicrafts industry in Bangladesh which had languished for years with poor quality and tiny volumes. So early Hathay Bunano was about taking all that was good about the process in RMG and applying it to locally produced, flexible employment arrangements within handicrafts. Early Hathay Bunano was not about building a brand but rather about demonstrating that consistent quality and volume was possible in handicrafts and that it was possible in rural Bangladesh.
Over time it became increasingly clear that Hathay Bunano needed it's own brand in order that the story of the products and the processes and the potential for handmade could be told and so Pebble was launched in January 2010, 6 years after the start of Hathay Bunano.