LOCWOM Australia - making a real Difference
LOCWOM Australia is a social enterprise that aims to promote fair trade in Australia and support women's empowerment and economic development in Nepal.
Bianca Caruana, the Founder, teamed up with Nasreen Sheikh, former child labourer, women’s rights activist and global changemaker to bring the work of Local Women’s Handicrafts to Aussie shores. Their partnership started back in 2017 when Bianca spent 3 months volunteering with Nasreen and her team of 35 strong, resilient women, many of whom escaped hardship in their previous lives as oppressed wives, forced labourers or uneducated mothers. The two bonded over a common goal to see an end to global inequality and the rise of women in business and entrepreneurship.
Nasreen’s story is heart-wrenching, yet incredibly inspiring, as a young women who escaped forced marriage and child labour. Experiences that fuelled a desire to be a voice for the voiceless and lift women out of these dreadful circumstances. She talks of growing up in a remote village where women are undocumented, no birth certificates, no death certificates. After escaping such circumstances Nasreen founded Local Women’s Handicrafts, a fair trade textile and handicraft collective in Kathmandu, Nepal. The organisation focuses on empowering and educating disadvantaged and marginalised women, offering them employment opportunities and mentorship in business entrepreneurship. Less than 1% of women in Nepal are entrepreneurs. Nasreen’s goal is to change this so that more women have the opportunity to grow as entrepreneurs. Through partnership with international ambassadors like LOCWOM Australia this dream is becoming increasingly possible.
LOCWOM Australia was founded as a platform to assist Local Women’s Handicrafts achieve these big dreams. The social enterprise works to promote fair trade in Australia through the sale of ethically produced products, with profits going back into community projects in Nepal, including the growth of Local Women’s Handicrafts. Current projects include the expansion of a learning centre in the Terai region of Nepal, and the ability to employ an initial 10 women at the new centre. The current LOCWOM Australia winter range includes beautiful handmade stylish woollen ponchos made using a combination of wool, cotton and natural acrylic fibres. All products are ethically produced, providing fair wages and working conditions for the women who make them.
The range also includes handmade woollen socks, Hemp bags and recycled sari Kaftans, showcasing their commitment to sustainably sourced materials. The social enterprise is committed to transparency, and are open about their relationship with Local Women’s Handicrafts.