Bangladesh Artisans

Back-to-school pictureI suspect my children aren’t the only ones who’ve started counting down the days until summer break! And at this time of year, as the school year winds down, I find myself in a reflective mood.

In Canada, we take for granted every child’s right to a good education. Wherever we live, we expect our kids to get grounded in the basics they’ll need to thrive as adults, and to provide the tools they need if they choose to go on to post-secondary education.

Through my experience meeting some of Ten Thousand Villages’ talented artisan partners, I have been exposed to regions of the world where “education for all” is anything but the norm. One situation that comes immediately to mind is Nepal, where boys are much more likely than girls to have the opportunity to attend school.

Get Paper Industries, one of our artisan partners in Nepal, has built a school that welcomes all children, regardless of their gender, religion or financial status. They also run an innovative program that is designed to inspire families to send not only their sons to school, but their daughters as well.

Get Paper earmarks a portion of their ongoing profits to advance this initiative. Children are given new backpacks displaying the message, “Send Your Daughter to School.” Last year, Ten Thousand Villages teamed up with Get Paper to provide them with an additional 500 backpacks to distribute during their annual campaign.

In a recent email, Milan Dev Bhattarai, Get Paper’s Founder and CEO, shared some good news with us:

We are planning to distribute about 1,200 bags in our five different schools. This method has become very effective, as the message is continuously displayed while children are going and coming back from school. We are doing this promotion for the last 20 years and we believe that it has motivated communities to send their daughters to school.

We are proud to partner with groups that use proceeds from their sales to Ten Thousand Villages and others to do such incredible work in their communities.

I’m so grateful for the opportunities that I have had, and that my children have, because of the strong educational infrastructure that exists in Canada. As the 2013-14 school year wraps up, I encourage you to consider those for whom “education for all” remains an elusive dream.


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Sky and Flower Planter Dark Chocolate Minis Flowers of Nepal Notebook

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