*Update: thanks to the wonderful support from you, our customers, we are now regularly shipping in these beautiful cashmere scarves, ponchos and blankets and supporting Helping Hands!
I had an incredible two weeks in Nepal volunteering in Pokhara with Go Kiwi Go, about 200km west of Kathmandu. I spent my days building bamboo fences, reading stories to kids, hearing about the many rescued young women from trafficking and working alongside GVI.
But in my time off I met the people who run Helping Hands, a business that exists purely to employ deaf and partially sighted young people from all around Nepal and teaches them how work the looms to spin the beautifully soft and fine local cashmere into scarves, throws and ponchos.
It's hard living with a disability in Nepal as their families tend to work outdoors in agricultural jobs and they are unable to help much to contribute. At Helping Hands they come to work, earn money and also have accommodation provided as they find meaningful work and respect. All the profits from the sales of these exquisite high quality garments goes back into investing into the deaf and blind community.
I was all set to buy a poncho for myself - and a blanket too because it's just so soft I wanted to snuggle into it right there, but when I met the kids who have jobs through this organisation (they also have a massage business which I experienced too), I just loved their story.
So I filled my suitcase with as many garments as I could fit and talked to them for about an hour about how we might be able to do business together in the future and looked at the costs including shipping and taxes.
The first range of one-offs sold quickly as Kiwis soon found they loved them as much as I do and now, together we can continue to partner with Helping Hands and give something back while enjoying their top quality product.