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Weaving a better future for women in Nepal

Weaving a better future for women in Nepal

Published:08 February 2018

CQUni Alumnus Robin Amatya. BELOW: A fashion show image from the Sabah Nepal Facebook page.

It takes many types of threads to make the beautiful saris, pants and waistcoats produced by SABAH Nepal; not only those woven into the handmade dhaka fabric.

There’s also the many community network threads behind the scenes, which help Nepalese women empower themselves through a home-based, self-sustained business.

CQUniversity’s latest Alumnus of the Year (Social Impact Award) winner, Robin Amatya has been key to the success of SABAH Nepal, as CEO of the SAARC Business Association of Home-Based Workers.

The Business (Marketing) graduate of 2008 is now recognised as one of the most respected and experienced individuals working daily with micro-enterprises and home-based artisanal workers in a variety of sectors.

Robin’s achievements include the SABAH Village Trade House enterprise which facilitates the sale of apparel, knitwear, fashion accessories and home furnishing items, produced by women using skills passed down for generations.

This platform enables women to market and sell their goods without exploiting their wages and earnings – almost 40 per cent of the revenue goes directly to the home-based workers.

Robin has married heritage with fashion to create SABAH’s fashion brand, working with fashion retailer Isabel Lucas to develop marketing and sales.

The Village Café also provides an opportunity for women to grow their skills, earn money and improve social growth by producing quality traditional food.

Beyond clothing and food, SABAH Nepal’s recent programs have promoted leadership development, value-chain development, and livelihood recovery.

Robin has also been integral to a partnership program with the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development. This has contributed to the resilience of poor and vulnerable communities of the Hindu Kush Himalaya by linking their niche, value-added products and services to mainstream marketplaces.

Other partnerships have been established with non-profits including Hands of Nepal, the Self-Employed Women’s Association, and HomeNet South Asia.

Robin has supported the Nepal Earthquake Appeal and has been involved in international trade fairs and the sale of products to India.

Over the past decade, SABAH Nepal has grown to the point where it now changes the lives of more than 2500 home-based workers and impacts an additional 1500 community members.

It’s required the establishment of a strong business model as well as relationships with many partners, donors and funding agencies.

Melissa Misztal, Director of Development and Alumni Relations said, “the success of community transformation through ‘fair trade’ micro-enterprises in such remote village conditions has taken passion, commitment, innovation, tenacity and hard work".

"This is the type of energy and impact our alumni are showing in communities across the world so we are very proud to showcase Robin’s work with this alumni award”.