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When Robin Seyfert, the founder of Basha, saw two teenage girls making their bed in the Dhaka trainstation to prepare for the night, she was told they would be in prostitution soon. Women at the railway station, often with kids, had to sell their bodies at night to survive.
Having experience in youth work and child protection she teamed up with Mennonite Central Committee and started a training programme for women who were desperate to escape a life of prostitution.
In the Bengali language, Basha means home and asha means hope. This is exactly what Basha wants to be: a house of hope. In 2011 Basha opened their doors and sheltered 14 women (and their children). Today they are serving 10 times more women making a huge positive impact on their life and their kids’ lives.
Friends of Basha raises money to pay for the training, transition and rehabilitation time for women. They offer counselling, teach children's nutrition, give medical care, and much more. Once their training is completed, they are employed by Basha which is self sustaining through sales.
By offering these women dignified work again while taking care of their children, Basha aims to break the cycle of poverty and victimisation.
You can read their personal stories here.
Basha’s work is so important and has such a direct impact. Their endless aim to empower these women into proud artisans is so spot on with our manifesto. We are simply in awe of their work and are so honoured we can contribute a tiny bit by donating. Thank you all so much for all your orders and we couldn't be happier to donate 10%. Our donation this year will help even more women and their children to make changes and empower them.
Basha wants to grow as long as there are women that need help. They have now also set up a program in the Rohingya refugee camps in southern Bangladesh. Unfortunately their work is still very much needed.
Their products are not only gorgeous, but also handmade under fair circumstances in Bangladesh. They re-use and up-cycle vintage sarongs into beautiful blankets and throws. My dear friend Yvet (who lives in Dhaka and has seen the good work of Basha from up close) gave me one when my youngest girl was born and, three years later, we still take it with us everywhere we go. You can find their beautiful collection here!