With their rich colours, intricate designs and hand-knotted quality, Persian rugs are undeniably beautiful.
But they often have a poor reputation for upholding worker and human rights in the countries where they’re made. In many North African, Middle Eastern and Asian factories, workers toil for hours in difficult conditions and for little pay, and children are sold into the industry as slave labour.
To help encourage change this industry, Ten Thousand Villages has partnered with Bunyaad — a fair trade organization in Pakistan that produces high-quality, hand-knotted rugs — to bring in a large selection of rugs to Langley from April 7 to 22.
Each Bunyaad rug is made by adult artisans who are paid a living wage, and are respected and supported. It takes the combined effort of master designers, knotters, washers and finishers to complete each one.
“To think that these rugs are the proud work of up to 15 people and can take one to two years to make is incredible,” said Trish Buhler, manager of Ten Thousand Villages Langley.
“There are up to 800 knots per square inch in some of these rugs which gives them a life span of up to 200 years.
“It is this durability that allows rugs to be well loved by children, pets and feet.”
To learn more, join Ten Thousands Villages at a public information meeting on Friday, April 7 at 7 p.m.
Titled, From Loom to Living Room: The History and Stories behind Bunyaad Fair Trade Rugs, Buhler will share the history of rug making in the Middle East and Asia, and how it has evolved over time to become one of the greatest exports from this region. She will also discuss the dark side of rug production, from its extensive use of child labour to under or unpaid adult labour, and the importance of fair trade.
RSVP by calling 604-534-3868 or emailing Langley@villages.ca.