Our 100% recycled cotton paper is made by artisans in Rajasthan, India, following a generations-old process. First, discarded cotton scraps are collected from the textile industry. Cotton is broken down into fibers using a traditional wheel press and then soaked overnight. Next, the pulp is strained, pressed into pages and hung to dry. After ironing, crisp pear goes either into journals or into the hands of artisans for screen-printing, embroidery or patchwork. The entire process is tree-free, non-toxic, and conserves and filters water for reuse in irrigation.
Our partner artisans belong to a minority group called Kagzis, who are part of a long tradition of handmade paper-making. Since the process is done by hand, it provides work opportunity for many people in this community. Benefits for the artisans include training, microfinance, education, and health assistance.
Like the remote rural villages of India, the sprawling urban centers present economic and social struggle for minorities, lower castes, women and the poor. Many children will run away from home to the cities for opportunity, only to be sucked into a continuous cycle of poverty. We believe that through fair trade the cycle of poverty can be broken, and the cycle of economic empowerment and education can take its place. We work with several projects focused on urban entrepreneurship, such as an empowerment group for women of the slums of Jaipur, and schools for poor and disabled children in Delhi and Gwalior. In all our artisan partnerships, dignified employment through craft, self respect, and education are top priorities.