Kilim is a Turkish word, referring to a pileless, hand woven textile that is made using a flat weaving technique.
A piled rug (like, installed carpet, a tufted rug or Persian rug) is created with short, individual strands of fibre, which are knotted and stand up. In contrast, a kilim rug is made on a loom by tightly weaving the colored fibres (wefts) through the foundation strands (warp) that run end-to-end.
Our kilim rugs are handcrafted in Mymensingh, Bangladesh by women artisans with disabilities, employed in work that offers them dignity & pride.
These women are culturally stigmatized, whether for a minor physical disability or a more significant impairment. Many feel a burden on their family, and are unable to access employment or marriage. This unique opportunity allows women with barriers to use their abilities & skills to earn an income and feel the satisfaction of sustainable work.
Like our kantha blankets, these kilim rugs are made from repurposed sari cloth. In fact, the fabric scraps used for the kilim rugs are the edges that have been removed from the saris before using them for a kantha throw.
There is already very little waste in the kantha process, and this bit of unused cloth finds a life in these rugs!
The organization PAUS (Protobondhi Atto Unnoyon Songstha) was originally started in 1997 as a carpet workshop by Taizé brothers living in Bangladesh. (The Taizé community is an ecumenical, monastic brotherhood, based in France). Over the years, the workshop has trained 500+ women in loom-weaving.
In March 2020, two physically disabled people determined to focus a social enterprise on upholding and empowering the dignity of women with disabilities. Their aim was to provide opportunities not only to receive training, but for long-term, sustainable employment, leadership, and social participation.
They named their enterprise Projapoti Craft (Butterfly Crafts), because they see every woman with a disability as a butterfly — beautiful to behold, with lives of transformation.
While many organizations in the area help those with disabilities, this one is directed by people with disability, for people with disability, with people with disability.
PAUS is Butterfly's parent organization, and continues to provide supports to others with disabilities in the Mymensingh area (~5,000 people). This includes purchasing necessary assistance like wheelchairs, as well as distributing blankets and other supplies to the needy.
Butterfly Crafts currently has eight looms and employs 13 women: 8 who are looming the rugs on the frames, while 5 are preparing all of the materials. Butterfly's goals are to provide more job opportunities (and set up on-site daycare, as needed) by:
1) acquiring more looms to increase capacity, and
2) increasing sales of rugs
dignify is excited to participate in Butterfly Craft's story by introducing these one-of-a-kind rugs into our marketplace collection!