BIA (Bodhisattvas in Action)
Bodhisattva is a Sanskrit word referring to a person who has great compassion and resolves to work tirelessly for the good of others.
On our recent journey to Nepal, we visited Bodhisattvas In Action (BIA) Foundation, an international nonprofit organization based in Nepal that seeks to improve the quality of life for the disabled, orphaned and underprivileged.
BIA’s handicraft training institute for the disabled was very impressive. The organization presently serves over 100 physically disabled people, providing them housing, vocational training, education and fair wages. At BIA they believe that everyone has potential. No matter how severe the disability, they find something for them to do which gives them a sense of self-worth and empowerment by making it possible for them to sustain themselves and their families.
Nepal is an especially challenging place for the disabled. Gokarna Dhugngana, BIA’s Managing Director, explained to us what daily life is like for disabled people living in Nepal.
He shared some particularly touching stories of women who have overcome great adversity in their lives with the support of BIA.
Bimala Khanal has called BIA home for nearly 2 years now. She moved to Kathmandu from a village in northern Nepal after suffering a tragic machinery accident, which left her disfigured. Though she was physically able to work after her accident, her family was ashamed of her physical appearance and did not want her to leave the house. At BIA she has found not only a home but also a sense of purpose, empowerment and community by living and working with others with various challenges.
Somala Tamang, lost her husband just one month before the devastating earthquakes that rocked Nepal at the end of April 2015. Her home was destroyed and she was severely injured and unable to work for several months. BIA took in Somala and her young daughter, the only surviving members of her family, after the earthquakes providing them shelter, food and gave Somala the opportunity to earn a fair wage.
BIA was extremely active responding to the earthquakes and bringing relief to Kathmandu and its surrounding villages. They supplied food, building materials, medicines and healthcare to more than 30 different villages in five districts of Nepal. They also built 60 homes for disabled earthquake victims.
BIA is a truly inspiring humanitarian organization that we, at Kathmandu Yogi, want to work closely with and support. We are working on launching a new partnership with BIA whereby we will give design and production work to their Sewing and Weaving divisions.
Kathmandu Yogi shares BIA’s values and mission of transforming the world one person at a time and fabricating projects aimed to transform consciousness by inspiring others to act through loving compassion and create the most beautiful world imaginable.
To learn more about BIA visit http://bia-foundation.org.
Yala was the name given to Patan by the Newar people, the historical inhabitants of the Kathmandu Valley. Patan is also known as Lalitpur, which means city of fine arts.
As the home and workplace of the Nepal’s most talented artists and artisans, we chose Patan as Kathmandu Yogi’s local hub of activity.
On our last visit, we had the pleasure of meeting Patan/Newar native, Pravin Chitrakar, the CEO & Founder of Yala Mandala, an ethical handicraft collective and gallery whose mission is to showcase and preserve Nepali arts and craftsmanship.
Pravin founded Yala 25 years ago with the intention of preserving local cultural heritage, sharing it on an international level and elevating local artists and artisans.
Today Yala Mandala consists of two mid-size workshops, one dedicated to textiles, weaving and sewing and one to jewelry, metal work and paper crafts as well as a five-story gallery in the heart of Patan that hosts a myriad of cultural events.
We were extremely touched and impressed by Pravin and the Yala team’s dedication, passion and accomplishments over the years and wanted to support their excellent work and bring it to our customers.
Yala Mandala is one of the new partnerships that we initiated on this recent visit. This is one of three new partnerships we are presently focused on making sustainable.
In a few short weeks, coinciding with the one-year anniversary of the earthquake that wreaked havoc on the Kathmandu Valley and took the lives of thousands, we will launch our Kickstarter crowd-funding campaign with the ambitious goal of creating sustainable work for nearly 100 Nepali artisans.
Stay tuned to meet more of our partners in our “Meet the Makers” clips posted weekly leading up to our Kickstarter campaign launch.
To learn more about Pravin and Yala Mandala visit http://www.yalamandala.com/.
Video Credit: Brooke Herbert Hayes
We’re pleased to introduce you to two of our amazing female artisans who have been making our products since the beginning.
We’ve been working with these ladies and their equally inspiring colleagues for nearly two years now.
We sat down with Chameli Dangol and Anita Maharjan to gain some perspective on their daily lives and what working with a fair trade collective means to them.
For our artisans, a salary is so much more than a wage.
It empowers them, gives them a sense of dignity and purpose and gives them freedom to be independent of the men in their lives.
They always greet us with big, enthusiastic smiles and are happy and proud that we value them and their handicraft traditions.