Most of The Dharma Door’s products are crafted by women in remote, rural communities of Bangladesh. They juggle family responsibilities alongside other women within close farming communities. More recently – with the addition of leather tags and handles to some of our products – The Dharma Door has also started to work closely with a leather workshop that employs men who live with a physical or mental impairment.
Our artisans often belong to the poorest and lowest castes of the country, so access to training, health and education has been very limited. Many have experienced discrimination, violence and hardship. Working with The Dharma Door empowers these women to break the cycle of poverty by using their traditional weaving and craft skills.
The artisans work together in shared spaces – surrounded by their animals and children – or sometimes choose to work from home, where they can tend to daily chores and take part in important seasonal events, like harvest.
Some have developed their own savings scheme, where a portion of each payment is pooled to support those within their community.
Our consistent orders provide ongoing employment for these talented women. Secure work enables them to transform their lives. They are able to educate their children and better care for their families. Over time this scenario has also transformed marital relationships, sense of dignity and general standing within the community.