November 20, 2009

Made in Mongolia

Well, next week is Thanksgiving and that can only mean one thing, Christmas Shopping! Okay, maybe it's not the only thing, but it's definitely the season for it. I know many people this year will be limiting their shopping due to tight finances but, if for any reason you might have some cash on hand to buy a few things, you might consider things "made in Mongolia".

Davaa, who was our director at the dharma center for the last year, is now working at 'MiM'. Here's what their website says:

Made in Mongolia is a new range of handcrafted felt products. Working in partnership with the ASRAL, MiM is a non-profit initiative that allows Mongolians to use local resources sustainably to improve their livelihoods while maintaining traditional skills. MiM aims to provide greater self sufficiency to women, and their communities.

Made in Mongolia's work focuses on two areas: the ger district of Ulaanbaatar, the capital city and Ondershil, a remote settlement in the Gobi. In both cases there is little or no work either due to lack of skills or lack of employment opportunities. MiM works to help empower mostly women, the poorest sector of society, providing them with an easily accessible and sustainable source of income.

Mongolian women – and occasionally men – learn traditional felt-making as well as sewing and embroidery, and spinning and knitting techniques. This provides them with both invaluable skills and an immediate income from the products they produce. Many of the women are heads of households, the income they generate through handicrafts is essential in helping to sustain their families.

Over 220 women have now been trained on the handicraft projects in Ulaanbaatar and Ondershil. Several of the women involved have mental illnesses; handicrafts are an occupation they both enjoy and their families have said they have found therapeutic.

Working closely with Asral NGO, MiM© aims to provide comprehensive support to women and their families. Some of the mim© workers’ children attend the hot meal project providing children from the poorest families with a nutritious hot meal every day. Through this scheme they also receive educational support and sponsoring. Housing and medical aid have also been provided.

So, enough of this talking, lets see what you can order:

Tree Topper Santa

Warm Hats

Scarves and Tree Ornaments

Shoulder Bag & Hand Bag

And Warm Slippers

You can buy these at 'Made in Mongolia's shop right now. Hopefully they will be adding more items at the Etsy store, but if you really want to see some amazing work, go to their main website  Happy Shopping.