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When appropriate design meets sustainable livelihoods
Cameron Sinclair, 26 Aug 08
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In many parts of rural South Asia young women are often left with little option in gaining an income. Unfortunately thousands, some younger than 12, are being trafficked and lost into prostitution every year.

In July I was in Bangkok to meet with some of our Burma reconstruction teams and happened to connect with Eve Blossom. Eve is the founder of Lulan Artisans, locally driven social venture that creates an alliance between textile designers and artisans to produce hand-woven fabrics through-out South Asia. They currently support over 650 weavers, spinners, dyers and finishers using a holistic approach to produce fabrics that are better for the environment.

By providing economic opportunity and stability this project helps preserve the art of hand-weaving in Asia while creating environmentally sustainable fabrics. Collections include fabric-by-the-yard, as well as home and fashion accessories are already marketed through select retailers and outlets. Now they are ready to expand, hire thousands of weavers and build innovative off-the-grid weaving centers whose profits will support these artisans and provide health care and schooling for their children. Fortunately the American Express Members Project is offering funding to allow them to scale and they are within striking distance of the next round.

If funded my organization, Architecture for Humanity, will be developing off-the-grid weaving centers that respects tradition but represents a new way forward. Each building will not only be an anchor for these artisans but will signal change has arrived. As with all our work the building designs will shared openly with anyone wanting to replicate them through Creative Commons licensing on the Open Architecture Network. This way innovation is shared and more communities can benefit.

These centers will be built in Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and India. The projects goal is to produce additional weaving centers that will increase the number of artisans to over 6,000, thus increasing our production and expanding our reach to many more weaving families and communities. Click here if you want to nominate this project to the next round. (Voting ends September 1st)

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As a designer, I know Lulan textiles and they are scrumptious. Thank-you for the information. --Cheryl Janis, Editor-in-Chief, Planet Pink n' Green,

Posted by: Cheryl Janis on 27 Aug 08



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