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Fair Trade

Stunningly beautiful Bengali items are all handmade by a group of women who have united themselves to form a cooperative.

They deserve our support for their commitment and positive attitude to life.

The first contact

Joanna and Lien had been contacted by a handicraft salesman during their first trip to Bangladesh in October 2003.
This man had some gorgeously crocheted little Christmas tree angels for sale. Joanna thought it would be a nice idea to have these handed out as gifts by children in her local church.

But the man, Dino Halder, had more to offer.
There were tablecloths in various designs and sizes. Some were embroidered in beautiful colours and others used exquisitely "open” embroidery. Nowadays however, there is a very limited market for traditional tablecloths, so Joanna persuaded the women to go into production of embroidered bedclothes as well.
The results can be seen on the various photo gallery pages.
We are very impressed and hope that you will be enthusiastic as well.

But the most important upshot is that these women have now found a way to support themselves and their families with their handicrafts. To sell = to eat!

How to support us?

During her second trip to Bangladesh Joanna visited these women again. They all reside in the Rajshahie and Dinajpur part of the country and have earned themselves a place in Joanna’s heart.

Their often heart-rending living conditions have never dampened their enthusiasm, and for that they deserve our support.

In the Netherlands Joanna and Danielle sell their products regularly at local fairs and markets, but you can also buy the items through this website.

Please choose from our various photo gallery pages, and remember that you can have items made to order.

When you're interested, please contact Joanna by email JW Support


Meanwhile the women have given their activities official status through a cooperative named "Poorest Women Development Society" (PWDS).
These heart-warming initiatives require an enormous amount of effort in a country such as Bangladesh. There is simply no local infrastructure to support these initiatives in an efficient way.

But local coordinator Dino Halder is a tenacious character, who now has his own outlet in The Netherlands: JW Support.

The coordinator

Being a qualified English and Bengali language teacher, Dino Halder is able to provide very well for his wife and daughter. He realized that he was very privileged, and felt obliged to make serious efforts to address the needs of his poor countrymen..

He has realized his ideas in the village from where his wife and her family originated. Some of the local women were extremely proficient in the art of embroidery, and he wanted to support their efforts.

So he now buys the cloth and the thread they need, he designs examples of decorations and makes all of this easily available by sending it directly to Rajshahie. He also meets regularly with the PWDS women and with Elisabeth, his local representative, to discuss relevant matters and custom designs.