The Giant Nettle, found almost exclusively in Nepal has been woven in the Himalayas for centuries. The textile is referenced in the famous Hindu epic, The Ramayana, written sometime before the 11th century. In addition to weaving the fiber for bags, ropes, cast nets and carrying straps, the plant remains an important source of food and medicine for Himalayan tribes.
Through our development efforts and the sale of EST WST products, 10 women weavers across 2 villages are earning their first consistent, sustainable incomes as partners in EST WST Collective. The entire process of harvesting, peeling, cooking, softening, spinning and weaving is performed exclusively in remote villages. The fabric is woven on handlooms and delivered on passenger vehicles to our workshop in Kathmandu, thus saving on electricity and emissions. Through our collectives, women are offered the opportunity to earn a sustainable income while remaining close to their families with time to tend to their farmland and livestock.