Friendship Colours of the Chars launched its first retail shop in Banani last week. The shop features a premium line of handmade, natural-dyed clothing, handcrafted jewellery and artisan boats.
President of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) Dr Rubana Huq attended the launch event as the chief guest. Mia Seppo, Resident Coordinator at the United Nations attended as the special guest.
Friendship NGO began by working with vulnerable women from remote communities in river islands (chars). The women from these marginalized char communities embraced their free training programs to learn how to weave and produce the handmade, natural dyed clothing and handcrafted jewellery that are now available at the store. The artisans adore creating the products, and the customers were pleased with the purity and ethical manufacturing practices behind the products, a press release from the company said.
Through the initiative, these char women were provided a first chance to learn technical skills and earn enough to provide for their families in extremely underdeveloped areas. The process is eco-friendly, keeping emissions as low as possible while preserving culture, promoting inclusive citizenship as well as sustainable economic development.
“The handicrafts displayed here are made with the skills of the women from the remotest, most isolated riverine islands (chars) in Bangladesh. We give them the skill and opportunity while they give their creativity and craftsmanship. They are helping us protect and preserve the culture and tradition of Bangladesh, whilst at the same time empowering themselves to build their social identities in their own communities,” said Runa Khan, founder and executive director of Friendship.
“What makes the truest difference is how our products are made, particularly when it comes to fabrics. Only traditional techniques of weaving (handlooms), dyeing, printing and embroidery are used. All materials used are pure cotton and silk. Most importantly, the colours applied are 100% natural/vegetable dye or Azo Free. Our fabrics are something that you would enjoy wearing, just as our beautiful weavers enjoy creating,” said Nazra Mahjabeen Sabet, Assistant Director, Nodi Limited, a Friendship Enterprise.