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Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
IOWA CITY — An Iowa City nonprofit will host their 5th Annual Fair Trade Oriental Rug Event later this month to “financially empower” Pakistani women who have little opportunity for employment in rural villages.
Ten Thousand Villages, a nonprofit fair trade store on the Ped Mall, will host the event Oct. 20-24 at 923 E. Second Ave., at Iowa River Landing in Coralville, to help residents of the corridor area learn about this local store’s mission to help improve the lives of Pakistani woman.
About 300 rugs, each handmade in Pakistani homes by fairly paid adult artisans, will be available to see and purchase in a variety of unique designs and sizes. Rugs and runners will be available.
“When you purchase a rug through Ten Thousand Villages, you not only invest in a beautiful piece of functional art, but you are also supporting lives, culture, and education in Pakistan, especially during the pandemic,” Elizabeth Preciado Genell, executive director of Ten Thousand Villages, said.
The rug event is a partnership between the nonprofit and Bunyaad, a fair trade artisan group in Pakistan, according to a news release. Bunyaad means “foundation” in Urdu. An Introduction to Bunyaad Rugs explains how these rugs are made and what makes a quality Oriental rug. It explains how knotting rugs is changing the lives of women and their families in Pakistan.
According to Bunyaad’s website, it is based in Lahore, Pakistan, and the rug artisan group includes more than 850 families from more than 100 villages who are involved in hand-knotted rug production. Part of their mission is to provide “vital and fair income to Pakistani rug artisans who otherwise would have very few sustainable outlets for their craft and artistry.”
Bunyaad, according to the website, provides a foundation for women by paying them a living wage to make the rugs on looms set in their homes. They can work on the looms around their other responsibilities in the home. This gives the women stable employment year-round and the income provides financial independence and allows them to contribute to the success of their family.
The richly colored, uniquely designed rugs will be on display, and those attending also can learn more about the craft from Yousaf Chaman, director of Bunyaad.
Safety measures will be in place and visitors are asked to wear a mask and social distance.
Event times will be 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Oct. 20-23, and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Oct. 24.
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