KTS is a place very close to my apartment in Patan and is now close to my heart as well. I’ve visited several times and want to learn more about it.
The project began with a childcare project, followed by adult literacy classes, and a nutrition and health clinic. Soon, a carpet weaving training program was established to expand employment possibilities. A production unit grew out of that, which provided funds to start a primary school in 1987.
Today, there’s a nursery, a free daycare center for employees’ children, and an orphanage. There are now training programs for knitting and carpentry as well.
On the production side, there is no child labor involved and all the work adheres to Fair Trade policies (KTS is a founding member of Fair Trade Group Nepal). Products are sold abroad by organizations such as Traidcraft, Serrv, Ten Thousand Villages, and Oxfam.
The project provides an allowance during training, and employment afterwards. Over 2000 businesses have been started by graduates, some in Kathmandu, and others back in villages.
There is a small shop displaying carpets, knit hats and mittens, furniture and small wooden items. There’s even a cookbook for Nepali food, now in its second edition.
The program keeps growing and changing, but throughout there’s a focus on fairness, opportunity, economic security, local empowerment, literacy and learning.