The nonprofit organization Manushi, meaning "energetic woman," was established in 1991 to assist poor, disadvantaged Nepali women. Located in Kathmandu, Manushi works with women in various parts of the country. The group describes itself as "action-oriented" for the empowerment of women. The organization's goals are to promote gender perspective in sustainable development, to enhance women's social and economic status, to put women in the forefront of human development, and to put marginalized people in the world of work through handicraft production and small businesses. In addition to craft production and marketing, Manushi conducts community development, entrepreneurship and skills training, and provides microfinance loans. Currently some 90 percent of Manushi's artisans are women: all are from grassroots communities, some are widows, some are without family, and all are needy. Constitutionally Nepali women have rights, explains director Padmasana Shakya, but practically they have few opportunities within a culture that discriminates against women.
Manushi grew out of studies of women in Nepal done by the Center for Women in Development. Prompted by questions from the women interviewed about the studies' benefit, Shakya, then a university economics professor, established Manushi in 1991. Manushi began its microcredit program in 1996.
Ten Thousand Villages has purchased recycled silk scarves and bags, silver and semiprecious stone jewelry, and natural dye products from Manushi. Manushi focuses on ecofriendly development-for example, using natural cotton dyes and natural resources-based raw materials such as hemp, handmade paper and bamboo.
- Artisan Products