We recently launched Amadablam to showcase handicraft products created by artisans in Nepal
Maxine was working as a travel rep when she befriended a Nepalese man called Gokul while on a trip to Warsaw.
They kept in touch via Facebook and after the devastating earthquake in Nepal in April 2015, she checked in on him to see if he was alright.
“He had posted a picture of himself hanging out of a helicopter dropping aid to villagers affected by the earthquake,” said Maxine. “I thought if he can hang out of a helicopter, I can do something to help too.”
And so she joined a volunteer team on a mission to trek to a remote part of Nepal and build a school.
“We trekked into the Himalayas to build this school that had been destroyed by the earthquake. The Sherpas carried everything, from metal and plasterboard to cement and sand, getting paid by the weight. We spent two weeks putting the school together. I did a lot of painting and teaching English to the children. They didn’t have many toys, so we taught them how to make paper aeroplanes.”
During the trip, Maxine came across locally produced cashmere scarves. She brought two suitcases back to the UK with a view to selling them to friends to raise funds for the school. They went down so well, she ordered some more, and set up her business Amadablam, selling affordable cashmere and other Nepalese accessories (amadablam.co), with a share of the profits going back to the school.
She said the cashmere goods – a mix of ponchos, scarves and jumpers – provide an important finance stream for rural workers in Nepal. “Women work in small co-operatives with just two or three looms. We help support families in local villages and the workers in Kathmandu who sort it and ship it to us.”
The trip certainly changed her life and perspective. She said: “It taught me I can go out there, visit any country, not have to speak the language – and that I can make a difference. I can go and improve someone else’s life on the other side of the world. It was quite empowering and gave me so much strength at a time when I needed it.”
Cashmere is a traditionally handcrafted premium product woven by friends, artisans near Kathmandu. It’s an art, part of the ancient heritage and culture of Nepal. An elegance of Nepalese Cashmere pashmina is unparalleled in uniqueness and incomparable to other fibres.
The entire manufacturing process is done by hand, from collecting, sorting, hand spinning on wheels called “Charkha”, weaving and labelling. It requires continuous hard work, dedication, and passion.
Cashmere Blankets/Throws look gorgeous on beds, sofas, or wrapped around your shoulder on chilling days.
We support the economic empowerment of Nepalese people, providing them work, paying them fairly, and making a difference to their lives, their children, and society at large.