Meet some of the people behind our products ...


       

     

    Our Clothing

    Surya Ethical Clothing Makers

    "Our business is a Fair Trade alternative business choice for a prosperous and peaceful society. We are promoting Fair Trade through empowerment, integrity and sustainable practices" ... Ramesh, Surya trading partner in Nepal

    We are proud to partner with a small family owned business in the Kathmandu Valley for all our clothing pieces. They employ many people in their workshop - in particular disadvantaged members of society such as low caste groups and stay at home mothers.

    Each part of the process requires skilled makers so there is opportunity for training and career advancement. From pattern making to fabric cutting and sewing, to the final ironing and quality checking there is room for advancement and skills development across the board.

    We have a no bartering policy with all our long term suppliers in Nepal. This allows our partners to receive the correct amount for each piece and pay our makers a Fair and Living Wage.

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    Polymer Clay Jewellery

    Supporting women who have escaped domestic violence

    Surya Polymer Clay Jewellery Makers

    Our polymer clay jewellery is handmade in a tiny village in far Eastern Nepal by women who have escaped domestic violence, physical or psychological abuse, or been trafficked into India for the tragically burgeoning sex trade. 

    Each of our makers luckily found their way to Samunnat Nepal, either through local police referrals or friends, and were introduced to the art of polymer clay by Wendy - an Australian artist who spends half her time in Nepal with the ladies. Read more about the women who make our jewellery >>

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    Naturally Dyed Hemp Throws

    Social Enterprise Success

    Surya Hemp Throws Maker   Surya Hemp Throws Makers

    Our stunning naturally dyed hemp and cotton throws are a wonderful success story. Shanti, our maker, has partnered with Change Fusion Nepal - a social enterprise who's aim is to directly connect small cottage industry artisans with international (or local) buyers. With no 'middle man' the artisans are able to set their own price and get paid a fair and living wage for their products.

    Shanti now employs over 20 women from her village to gather the raw materials from the local forests, and a further 15 women to perform the actual dying. Read more about Shanti and our natural dyes in Nepal >>

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    Our Felt Homewares and Felt Items for Children

    Friends and Entrepreneurs Creating Employment and Opportunity

    Surya Felt Makers from Nepal   Surya Felt Makers in Nepal

    We have 2 wonderful felt suppliers in Nepal, both of whom train and employ disenfranchised women and single mothers in Kathmandu (including allowances for some home based workers). Many of the women are at high risk of being trafficked into India. Our 2 friends success story came about 20 years ago when they began their felt making business. Today not only do they employ many women in need, they also provide healthcare and assistance with the education of their children. 

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    Stinging Nettle Shawls and Scarves

    Home Based Workers

    Surya Nettle Shawl Maker   Surya Nettle Shawl Fibre

    Our stinging nettle shawls and scarves are handmade by home based workers in the Kathmandu Valley. The women who make our delicate nettle pieces are employed by a Fair Trade agency in Nepal, and are creating our pieces in their spare time from their homes. Grazing the family goats while spinning nettle fibre onto a spindle is an opportunity not a burden in rural Nepal. Any extra income for the family is time well spent. Read more about nettle fibre and our makers >>

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    Our Hemp Products

    Empowering Village Farmers & Keeping Tradition Alive

    Surya Organic Hemp from Nepal  Surya Hemp Makers

    All our hemp products have been handmade in Nepal using local Nepali grown and harvested organic hemp. Villages in far Western Nepal rotationally farm the hemp (when it's not rice planting season) and then sell it to artisans in the cities. Each village has designated 'collectors' who transport the hemp (often by foot) and sell it onward. We were pleasantly surprised to find the collectors for all of our hemp were 3 women who had turned this into their own business, Read more about organic hemp fibre >>

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    Recycled Trash Homewares

    Turning Useless into Useful - Recycling Landfill

    Surya Recycled Rubbish Homewares   Surya Recycled Trash Baskets

    Our colourful coasters, bowls, placemats and centrepieces are all handmade in the Kathmandu Valley by marginalized women and unemployed youths. The plastic materials for our pieces are discarded chip and chocolate wrappers and other landfill - all gathered from the local streets and waterways. It is then washed thoroughly and turned into usable strips, and then tightly woven into our baskets.

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    Hand Rolled Lead Pencils

    Housewife Initiative Gone Global

    Surya Handmade Lead Pencil Makers  Surya Handmade Lead Pencils

    Initially beginning with the savings of 15 housewives in Nepal, our exquisite hand rolled lead pencils are made using handmade 'lokta' paper, recycled newspapers and recycled plastic trash products.

    Currently employing 150 - 200 women (including home based workers), this is a success story from a group of women with humble beginnings. Now a women's skills development agency supplying artisanal lead pencils around the world. View our collection >>

     

    We take the following measures to adhere to the 10 principals of Fair Trade that the World Fair Trade Organization has set out:
    • We have a no bartering policy with all our long term suppliers in Nepal. This allows our partners to receive the correct amount for each piece and pay the makers a Fair and Living Wage.

    • We pay a 50% advance on all orders and allow 2 months for production. We do not compromise working conditions by rushing, and we do not expect anyone to spend their own money to commence our work.

    • We work closely with our suppliers in the design of our pieces, and are in contact throughout the entire production period.

    • We provide year round income to our makers by ordering all throughout the year. This avoids the 'flood or famine' way of life and allows for budgets to be set including savings.

    • We ensure there are no child or forced labour in any part of the creation of our pieces.

    • We ensure the working environments of all our makers is safe, comfortable and practical. Good ventilation and lighting is paramount.

    • We support the continuation of traditional skills of our makers, and incorporate these into our designs whenever possible.

    • We respect the local environment and reduce our impact in many ways; wherever possible we use local organic fibres, soft azo-free dyes and recycled materials.