Jute Works

Hundreds of families in Bangladesh rely on jute for a steady income. CORR – The Jute Works was set up in 1973 as a charitable trust, providing women weavers with the training and skills needed to make locally-grown jute products in the safety and comfort of their own homes. 

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Since then, the range of products has widened and now includes clay crafts – providing extra opportunities to the local minority Hindu population too. The Jute Works really appreciates the value of naturally grown jute, and also the importance of the artisan. They’re  dedicated to living and breathing the principles of fair trade – creating a workforce that’s empowered, creative, and not afraid to experiment.

But it’s not all about jute.

CORR – The Jute Works is a registered fair trade women’s non-profit marketing trust and exporter of beautifully made, original handcrafted items. CORR stands for ‘Christmas Organization for Relief and Rehabilitation’, and when the trust was established in 1973, the main aim was to provide marginalised rural women with sustainable work at home. Nowadays, the trust (based in Dhaka) represents more than 4,800 rural women artisans and 160 men artisans across 220 workshops and studios in Bangladesh. Whether it’s through weaving jute, grass, leaf, cane, bamboo, embroidery, stitching, pottery, or even (in some cases) animal husbandry – The Jute Works strives to empower rural women regardless of caste, creed, or race. These handmade products are then exported to Europe, America, Australia, and Asia.

The Jute Works offers women artisans learning opportunities, leadership skills training, and confidence-building workshops. The group recognises the importance of self-help, and aims to show the women that they have the right to choose what they do, and how they live their lives. All of the women artisans share ownership of The Jute Works and actively participate in decision-making.

"We are very proud of what my mother did. It would have been quite impossible for me to go to university if there was only my father’s income. I want to stay in the village and teach the children.”

Nargis, the daughter of Firoza Begum - an artisan at The Jute Works