Friday, January 12, 2007

Does Your Imported Rug Have a RugMark?

According to the nonprofit, RugMark, nearly 300,000 children ages 4-14 are exploited as laborers in the handmade rug industry. RugMark is an international nonprofit that works to end child labor in South Asia's handmade carpet business. They sell rugs that were made by adult artisans, and a portion of each rug's sale goes to pay for the education of former child laborers.

On of the former child laborers, Narayan Tiwari, decribes what it was like making carpets:

"I know the problems of working children as I worked for about eight years as a child laborer in the carpet industry. . . .Usually in a carpet factory, child laborers work for about 14-15 hours a day. They weave carpets, spin the wool, roll the thread, etc., but most of them aren’t paid in full for their work. Whatever money is given to them is taken away by their elders (relatives/parents). They are punished badly if they make any mistakes. So the situation for child laborers is miserable in carpet factories."

You can help by:
Purchasing a RugMark rug.
• Partnering with RugMark if you are an interior designer, retailer or importer.
Spreading the word.
Donating to RugMark.

Photo of RugMark label from RugMark web site.

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