Rugmark-Certified Carpets

When buying a rug, make sure children in sweatshops didn’t make it.

| January/February 2004

  • Children in India previously forced to weave for sixteen hours a day now go to school as part of Rugmark’s rehabilitation programs
    Photography By Robin Romano
  • At Rugmark-certified factories in Nepal, humane conditions are assured to adult loom workers.
    Photography By Robin Romano
  • Shanti Lama, 14, has traded in loom work for homework.

The handmade carpet industry has long been associated with child exploitation. So how can you be sure your next carpet purchase doesn’t bear the imprints of tiny fingers?

Making a difference: Rugmark, a nonprofit organization working to end child labor, certifies carpets made under safe and fair working conditions while helping former child weavers reclaim their childhood. Many Rugmark-certified rugs are also made of natural wool and dyed with botanical pigments.

From loom to classroom

More than 2,300 child carpet workers have been rescued in India, Nepal, and Pakistan and placed in schools since Rugmark was launched in 1994.

Changing lives

Forced into bonded labor to pay off her father’s debt, fourteen-year-old Shanti Lama from Nepal is among those helped by Rugmark. Once illiterate, she now reads at the fifth grade level. Now reunited with her family, she wants to be a dance teacher when she grows up.

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