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swallows

SWALLOWS

Swallows is based in an idyllic, rural clay-earthed village, Thanapara Swallows, near the Ganges River in north west Bangladesh.

Swallows is a womens' project, where even hand weaving, which is considered mens' work, is done by women. The natural and azo-free dyed yarns are hand woven into fabrics, then hand embellished with embroidery and tailored, providing work for over 200 women.

Profits from Fair Trade help cover the running costs of the Swallows school for 320 children. People Tree started a daycare centre for 60 babies and toddlers in 2007.

Swallows was set up to provide opportunities for women who suddenly found that they were the head of the household, after the village was devastated in 1971, when all the adult males were massacred during the war of independence. These men were the bread winners in a society where women stayed at home to cook, clean and look after the family.

Mrs Gini Ali, Assistant Director at Swallows, feels that discrimination and lack of opportunity for women in Bangladesh are the biggest barriers to improving living conditions there. She says:

"The Fair Trade principles applied by People Tree have created economic stability for Swallows, allowing it to become an independent organisation, this has led to the empowerment of the women of Thanapara."