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Cindy Hodnett

Ten Thousand Villages stores plan fair-trade rug sales

 The hand-knotted rugs are from Bunyaad, a fair-trade rug company, and include floral and tribal designs.The hand-knotted rugs are from Bunyaad, a fair-trade rug company, and include floral and tribal designs.
 Rugs sold at the Ten Thousand Villages sale will benefit Pakistani artisans and their families.Rugs sold at the Ten Thousand Villages sale will benefit Pakistani artisans and their families.

GREENSBORO, N.C. — Approximately 40 Ten Thousand Villages branded and affiliated fair-trade stores in the U.S. and Canada are planning to host Oriental rug sale events throughout the year to support artisans from Pakistan.

The events will feature rugs from Bunyaad, a fair trade rug company that works with more than 800 Pakistani artisans producing hand-knotted rugs in their villages.

At the Greensboro, N.C., store, more than 300 rugs will be on display and available for purchase here April 18-21, with styles ranging from intricate florals to hand-spun natural dye wool tribals. The rugs are designed and hand-knotted by skilled and fairly paid adults, according to company officials.

"We know our community wants to play an active role in bringing peace to this portion of the world," said Joelle Nealy, the store manager in Greensboro. "Through this rug event, they know they can bring stability to these artisans."

"Regardless of what level of instability surrounds them, our artisans always know they have a job that pays them a living wage, a wage that allows them to send their kids to school, eat proper food and plan for the future," said Yousaf Chaman, Bunyaad director. "That's stability."

Rafia Nasir is one of the rug artisans. She lives in Fateh Toor More, a small Pakistani village near the Kashmir mountains. Her husband, Mohammad, lost his job when mass electrical outages caused the factory where he worked to close.

"I know that even though my husband no longer has a job, I have a job, a good job, in my house that doesn't require gas for me to get to and even if I have no electricity, I can work with the light of the sun," Rafia Nasir said. "For this, I am thankful."

"Fair trade produces a long-lasting stability that isn't easily shaken by politics, outages or inflation," Chaman said. "It's doing business in a way that puts the well-being of the artisan first and foremost. By doing this, Bunyaad artisans not only have financial stability, but also can show their great artistic skills and create very high quality rugs because they know they will be paid for every knot tied and for the good wool and dyes used."

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