On my latest trip to Nepal I was lucky enough to get a peak behind the scenes of Sabah Nepal.
Sabah Nepal is a social business organisation, geared towards home based workers. Women who are already skilled in handicrafts, such as knitting, sewing, weaving etc. can enhance their skills and are given a way to market their goods and services.
Women are more likely to face poverty and as a result, often get pushed into working in the informal sector. Sabah Nepal tries to counteract this in giving women a chance to gain economic self-sufficiency.
The home-based workers not only get to work on products for Sabah Nepal, but also get access to the company’s contacts.
Since the project is aimed at home-based workers it is especially attractive for women. While the main base is in Kathmandu, Sabah Nepal also targets women in more rural areas of the country. It allows them to earn their own money and thus aids in their empowerment as they can become self-reliant through a sustainable livelihood.
Sabah Nepal uses local natural resources and indigenous skills. It is refreshing to see this “back to the roots” movement take place in all corners of the world. As a result people are not only rediscovering almost forgotten raw materials and fabrics but also give their products a very distinctive nepali yet modern feel.
This is one of the dhaka patterns the ladies at the house were working on. It’s a traditional design that is handwoven. Each pattern is unique.
While I was there I also got the opportunity to speak to Shova, one of the first women to join Sabah Nepal in 2009. Shova works in quality control and is now a board member. When talking about the project she couldn’t help but stress how the community feels like a family to her.
In a different branch, the Village Café, the project focuses less on crafts and more on food services. They offer traditional nepali and newari food, as well as some fusion dishes.