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We stopped by at the Association of Craft Producers, the largest fair trade accredited business in Nepal. Their premises are an amazing rabbit warren of craftrooms, from felting to woodwork to screen printing to dyeing. The workers are paid a fair wage and are allowed to join the union. Many of them work from home, with monthly checks to ensure everything is running according to fair trade values.
We were fortunate enough to meet Meera Bhattarai, the founder of ACP. Meera was the first person to bring fair trade to Nepal and overcame many obstacles to do so. She’s usually busy running ACP so we were lucky to catch her.
The rest of the afternoon was spent exploring Thamel. There are many characters among the traders in the streets around our hotel. One jeweller told us that he loved Australia because of the cricket, and proceeded to name every cricketer he could remember. He also mentioned that he has a Masters majoring in Urdu but prefers to work in the store. A shopkeeper heard our accents and greeted us with a “g’day” almost as mangled as my “namaste”. Another didn’t have to get out of her seat to tell me that “all dress suit you”. Shopping here is always an adventure.
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