In 1984 Ganesh Himal Trading began working directly with a handmade paper project initiated by UNICEF. The project, Bhaktapur Craft Paper (BCP), used traditional Nepali paper to create products for western markets and invited Ganesh Himal to be one of their first independent buyers outside of UNICEF. The goals of the project were to help low income rural and urban families earn a fair and equitable income while keeping the traditional craft of paper making alive and to provide a Nepali product that was made from a sustainable and renewable material.
UNICEF set up BCP was a worker owned cooperative and in 2006 UNICEF handed over the project to its workers. Unfortunately, at the same time UNICEF changed their buying arrangements and stopped buying from BCP. As a result of the decrease in orders and because UNICEF had put no stipulation on how long worker owners had to remain with the organization, those employees who had education and management skills sold their shares and created their own for profit paper making businesses. Those who were left to work in BCP were the least educated women who knew how to make the products but didn’t know how to run an organization. In 2006 BCP sales began to decline and by 2010 they had to close their doors. Ganesh Himal Trading had worked with many of the women producers, now without work, for almost 25 years and seen how much it had improved their lives and the lives of their children. We felt it was our responsibility to help these women create their own company, help them to purchase machinery and continue to purchase from them so that they could continue with the only work they had done most of their adult lives. From 2010 to 2012 we helped to reorganize a group of these women into what is now known as Bhaktapur Women Craft Paper and that is who we continue to work with to this day. It would have been easy for us to just move on and begin buying from one of the other private paper businesses that had sprung out of BCP but we couldn’t abandon these women we had worked with for so long. We at Ganesh Himal are proud to say that they are back to work and they couldn’t be happier. Please see the video below to see the effect of standing beside our producer partners at BWCP!
Nepali’s have been producing handmade paper in their villages for over a thousand years and still use it in their daily lives. The paper, made from the bark of the Daphne or “lokta”, is renowned for its exceptional durability and wonderful texture. We work directly with the women of BWCP to design beautiful and functional journals, card sets, stationary, wrapping paper, gift bags, gift cards, picture frames and more!
The women at BWCP are committed to community development and they continue to work closely with the rural villages that produce the handmade paper and are committed to trying to buying all of the paper they produce.