Pakistani rug makers hit by the flood.

The people of Winnipeg, canada, who are buying handmade rugs from Pakistan could be throwing out a lifeline for about 200 flooded-out artisan families- more work.

"That's what they want," said Yousaf Chaman, the director of the Mennonite Central Committee's rug program. Chaman,  the Pakistan-born and raised American helps run a fair trade program for rug-makers whose rugs are sold at MCC's Ten Thousand Villages stores.

"They have temporary help, food and shelter but the biggest desire we hear from the artisans is 'I want to get back to work and to normalcy,' " said Chaman who visited the artisans in May.

"Beyond income, it's the routine you have," said Chaman, who spoke to his counterparts in Lahore last wednesday morning about the plight of the artisan villagers.

When the flood hit, 200 of the 850 rug-making families scrambled to save their unfinished rugs, looms and equipment. The anchors of the loom are unfortunately buried more than half an metre into the ground and had to be left behind.

"The situation is, so far, that they can't get work. They've got no house, no loom installed. People are basically sitting in tents. Most of their houses are still under water," said Chaman. It may take months for the water to recede and begin to rebuild people's homes, he said.

Back to blog archive
Top homestarstar-halfstar-empty