Local Women’s Handicrafts was founded in 2008 with a big goal:
To lift women who have been marginalized and exploited; to give them opportunity, skills, and a sense of dignity; and to spread our model of empowerment across the world.
LWH was started by Nasreen Sheikh as a small shop in Kathmandu, Nepal. At only the age of 16, Nasreen had already survived two years as a child laborer in a sweat shop. She opened LWH to take control of her own destiny and provide herself with hope she had never had.
At the shop, Nasreen began to train local women to make handcrafted textiles that they could sell at her shop. As she saw the women gain confidence and light return to their eyes, she realized the opportunity to spread this work across the world and empower disadvantaged women everywhere.
Through the LWH entrepreneurial empowerment model, we aim to empower 10,000 women in the world’s poorest regions by 2020 and create a textile industry that honors sustainability, human rights and dignity.
“We envision a world where women are leaders in their communities and are in control of their own lives, their own rights, and their own decisions.”
— LWH Vision
Our Empowerment Centers
Each of our centers is both a sustainable production facility and safe space of learning, growth, and community. The women who come to our centers are offered opportunities, training, and services that empower them to progress in their lives with self-value many of them had never known was possible.
When they arrive,the women have the opportunity to participate in training lasting up to 4 years. They learn professional skills in fiber crafts, entrepreneurship, and sustainability. During this time they receive a fair stipend and engaged mentorship from our staff and other women who have been through the program before them. After their training, they can choose to work at the center with a living wage or open their own businesses.
Beyond economic empowerment, our holistic model supports the whole woman so they can learn to feel safe and heal from trauma. Our staff provides health and wellness services to women and their children, women’s hygiene classes, and basic education. Our centers also have gardens that provide food for women and their families.
Through a dedicated and passionate team, we have been able to establish a safe community which has trained hundreds of women.