When I started Rugs by Roo, I did not expect I'd be advocating to end child labour. I just wanted to sell pretty rugs to customers who were also having babies like myself.
Oh Happy Home!, our much loved brand from Australia, was the first to introduce me to GoodWeave International. My first reaction was "what do you mean child labour still exists? Isn't it a thing of the past?" And that was when I realized I lived in a first world bubble.
As I've uncovered and shared in other posts I've written, child labour and unethical work practices today are still at astonishingly high numbers in areas such as India, Nepal and Afghanistan. Most exist at the lowest tier of the supply chain where it goes undetected by major rug retailers. Random audits that are performed by retailers often happen at the warehouse level and are not performed at cotton mills, wool farms or weaving shacks where most of the child labour resides. This is why GoodWeave International's work is so important.
When you see a GoodWeave label on a rug, it means that the rug was produced in an environment where no child labour was allowed, no forced or bonded labour was allowed and where the workplace conditions were documented and verifiable. GoodWeave makes regular, unannounced inspections of all production facilities that cover tier one factories as well as all outsourced production including homes, to verify compliance with the three above mentioned principles.
If you think about it, this is super helpful for rug brands that cannot always be physically in India to monitor production. The GoodWeave team are rooted in the communities they work in and have immense experience and resources to spearhead change. They are not just looking for compliance and looking to shut down factories. They are on the ground resolving issues and causing change to improve transparency. They are also seeking out informal workers beyond the borders of the factories that are not normally identified.
Beyond that, they provide education to both children and adults. From the beginning, they knew that the solution had to be holistic in order for it to work. GoodWeave's approach is to rescue the children and offer them freedom and education. The parents are placed in accredited factories where work conditions are monitored.
Since its establishment 25 years ago, GoodWeave has rescued 7,600 children from child labour, provided 36,833 children with quality education and reached 79,441 workers in the supply chain. Recently, Rugs by Roo became a GoodWeave partner, joining 350 other companies around the world. For us, becoming a GoodWeave partner means we will be actively seeking out more GoodWeave accredited brands to join our Rugs by Roo family. We will also be dedicating resources to educate you, our customers, so that you can shop confidently in our shop.
The CEO of GoodWeave, Nina Smith, shares the story of Sanju who was rescued from a carpet factory in Nepal. At the age of 11, Sanju worked 16 hour days for seven days a week. After being rescued, her family fell victim to two devastating earthquakes that destroyed her village. Within a week's time, GoodWeave was able to put Sanju in one of Nepal's best schools while her parents and community tried to rebuild their village. Success stories like this is what keeps GoodWeave going. Their ultimate goal is to end child labour permanently around the world including sectors outside of the rug industry.
To learn more about GoodWeave International, feel free to visit their website.