As part of the run up to DO Day 2019 on October 18th, we’ll feature a series of articles written by a selection of our DO Day organizers from around the globe. This week’s guest post is written by Waqar J Khan, a DO School fellow, founder of Nasheman, and social entrepreneur.
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Nasheman, established in 2017, is an ethical fashion brand working on sustainability in craft and fashion made by the home based female artisans of Pakistan. We work with skillful artisans living in villages that have no access to the basic amenities of life and learned the ancestral craft of embroidery which is passed down from generation to generation. The brand was born out of the intercultural exploration of the craft which these artisans practice and the contemporary design knowledge which our team possesses. My goal with Nasheman is to create pieces that embody ancestral wisdom, and train the artisans to make garments according to the latest fashion trend.
Each of our handmade products, named after the artisan who made it, is unique and contains its own identity. We help these women understand the local and international market needs and exhibit their pieces in international markets. We also create awareness around sustainable and biodegradable textiles so they can make the right choice when selecting materials. We constantly strive to revive a dying craft in a new way, which is appealing to mass markets. We showcased our products at Neonty Fashion Week in Berlin 2019 and were overwhelmed by the response that our collection received.
DO Day 2018
DoDay 2018 focused on the problem posed by plastic and pollution. In our efforts to help address this issue, Saba Khalid, Founder of AuratRaaj, and I partnered together to create intricate jewellery pieces made from ghost nets retrieved from the sea. This was made possible after we met Usman Iqbal from the Olive Ridley Project, which is an organisation that works to help conserve marine life all over the world. He introduced us to the fishermen and families of Abdul Rehman goth and helped us gain their trust. Abdul Rehman Goth, located in Keamari Town in Karachi, Pakistan, is a centuries-old fishing village comprising of Baloch tribes, locally known as “Bhuleji”. Small homes made of concrete brick lined the narrow streets, housing the women of the community who we engaged in making jewellery by utilising embroidery skills they already possessed. With their help, we made necklaces and bracelets in the beginning, later expanding to dog leashes while constantly working to create more new and innovative products.
DO DAY 2019
For DoDay 2019, participants are encouraged to find ways in which they can help empower women through entrepreneurship. We decided to focus our efforts on women in rural areas and attempt to support their socioeconomic system through menstrual hygiene management. We teamed up with a startup called Period Sisters which provides sanitary pads to women in emergency situations. In collaboration with the Olive Ridley Project, we worked with the same community of Abdul Rehman Goth, where women live in strict environments that prevent them from going out alone to shops and thus having open access to sanitary products. Additionally, they also lack awareness regarding menstrual health and adjoining topics, for which a female gynecologist will conduct a session.
Period Sisters will provide sanitary pads to a group of select women in the community who will write and document the sales of the pads to other women in the community, as they become Period Sister ambassadors. For ten batches the startup will provide pads free of cost to the ambassadors who will sell the pads to women for very low prices. From the money which they earn over these ten batches, they can then buy sanitary pads from Period Sisters which will be less than half the actual price of the pads. This will allow the women to have access to sanitary products through female mediated interactions and will also help improve their socio economic system in the long term. We are looking forward to helping the women in the community of Abdul Rehman Goth, allow them to flourish and support their future generations.
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