Kantha is a traditional form of embroidery that’s popular in Bangladesh and the Indian states of West Bengal. For hundreds of years, women in India and Bangladesh used kantha stitching to create something to keep them warm. Using a small, straight running stitch, they took old pieces of cloth and sewed them together to create blankets, throws, scarves and shawls.
Now, a skill passed down from generation to generation, kantha refers to both the tradition of creating a beautiful and useful product out of discarded items, as well as the kantha craft itself, which features a signature running stitch. While kantha traditionally refers to upcycling old materials, some kantha items are now also made with new fabrics.
This beautiful, reversible kantha throw was handstitched by Najmeen. Najmeen is 29 years old and has been working with Prokritee for five years. Prokritee provides work for women in Bangladesh with little or no income. Makers work in a safe environment and are given a fair wage, which helps them take care of their families and send their children to school. Prokritee provided training for Najmeen and taught her how to do kantha stitching. This particular throw is made with recycled cotton fabric purchased from a local market in Bangladesh. It took Najmeen almost six days to make this kantha throw!
Before Najmeen joined Prokritee, she and her family struggled to make ends meet.
“We didn’t have enough income to pay for food or give our children an education. We didn’t have enough money for medicine.”
After joining Prokritee though, things got better for Najmeen and her family.
“I am now able to buy good food and clothes for my family. I can now pay for my children’s education.”
Najmeen’s dream for the future is to continue giving her children an education so they can be literate and have successful futures.
Purchasing a kantha product is a wonderful way to reduce waste and empower makers like Najmeen. Visit our website to check out all our kantha throws, blankets, scarves and shawls.