I take a lot of pictures when I visit the manufacturing countries, each of which tells my, or rather, our story. They show perfectly why we do what we do at Handed By and what we stand for. Beautiful images of the country where our products are made. They reflect the sustainable world that I am able to contribute to. A contribution encouraging employment, which guarantees extra income that can be used to give the children a good education, for instance. It is crucial for all of our futures that we make the manufacturing process as sustainable as possible. I wouldn’t and couldn’t do it any other way.
When browsing through my pictures, I sometimes think: What a shame! What a shame that I haven’t shared them with more people. That is why I want to use my first blog post to take you on a journey.
Where to begin… Let’s set off for Vietnam, a country that I love to visit! Our Vietnamese craftsmen are extremely hospitable. Despite their limited means, they always know how to make you feel welcome. As a token of respect, I try to visit people in their own homes, which means that I have to travel deep into the Mekong Delta. There is no better way to learn about someone’s culture and to understand how people live and work than by visiting them in their own surroundings. The last leg of the journey, we travel by moped to reach the houses. No car could drive here…
The people I meet in the village are farmers who work the fields during the day. In the evenings, they weave our baskets and bags to earn some extra money. Extra money to increase their own quality of life, to pay for the education of their children, or simply to buy the basic necessities. Houses are often shared by several generations. One of the weavers that I visit regularly, has a son. She lives under the same roof as her own mother, a tight-knit family. Grandpa has been buried in the garden next to the house.
That garden is a narrow strip of land that rings around the house. The garden is packed with coconut trees, and they often hand me a coconut as a welcoming gift, cutting it open so that it’s ready to drink from.
I am happy to see that more and more people in these villages are weaving for us, and whenever I can, I share the things I know about education and quality with our craftsmen. This makes me proud of the beautiful products they manufacture, and they are proud of what they’ve made. Such love for the handycraft! This way, even more children can attend school, which means that this is a pure win-win situation for everyone involved. A wonderful thing to see!
At the moment, I’m preparing for my next trip to one of our manufacturing countries. I can’t wait! Click here to read and see more about the production of the Handed By bags and baskets.