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This is my new bag and I love this bag. It makes me happy in the way my kids get excited about ice-cream or like when you see a stunning piece of art. You see this isn’t just a bag. It is a celebration in tradition, support in a community and is filled with the tactile beauty of meticulous craftsmanship.

JOYN’s cotton fabric is hand picked, hand carded, hand processed, hand spun and hand woven on looms. Inspired by tradition their designs are created in collaboration with artisans in the Himalayas. The wood blocks are hand carved, dyes and paints are hand mixed and and the printmakers smack the back of the block with their fist to get a good impression. Once the colours are fixed using a natural drying method the fabric is then ready for use.

The fabrics and other materials are cut out by hand by the bag makers and then sewn using a foot powered machine. Leathers are sourced from fashion companies that have over-ordered preventing these high quality materials from going into landfill.

A lot of hands are involved, they take pride in their work and they and their families all benefit from their efforts.

Dolly, Bimla and Roshan were a few of the people who made my bag. I know because they signed the tag that came with it. I also know that Roshan’s favourite colours are light blue and grey which I think is kind of cool, because it is nice to think he enjoyed mixing the colours for my bag. Bilma is said to be “one of our best stitchers at JOYN” and it shows in her work.

JOYN is supported by JoyCorps a non-profit organisation that partners with entrepreneurs in the developing world to build strong businesses and healthy, thriving communities. They support through training and education and they subsidise these programs until the local cooperatives are profitable enough to carry on business on their own.

Providing steady employment, training, daily meals, medical care and education for its employees, JOYN offers so many opportunities to marginalised people in the region. This enables them to leave behind lives filled with abuse, addiction, begging, illness and trafficking and plan a positive future for themselves and their families.

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