NAUSENI’s founder, Wilatluk Sinswat, was in Kathmandu during Nepal earthquake 2015. Like many other survivors, she immediately became involved in the emergency relief and recovery efforts in the days and weeks that followed. Having fundraised and sent over 3 tonnes of tents, tarpaulin sheets and medicine to the epicenter of the earthquake, within the first 2 weeks, Wilatluk returned to Nepal 2 months later to visit the earthquake-affected sites to learn about what would be helpful going forward.
She quickly found that many survivors, particularly women, did not expect any “hand-outs” and wanted to rebuild their lives and homes with their “own two hands”. With this realisation, Wilatluk decided to set up a women-led initiative that could grow with the recovery and development of Nepalese communities in a sustainable manner.
Taking the phrase “own two hands” quite literally, Wilatluk started exploring handicraft products that would be familiar to Nepalese women and relevant to global market. Wool craft came first on the list, as for centuries, people in Nepal have been making rugs and coats from the wool of their sheep employing wet-felting techniques.
Relocating to Nepal to launch the initiative in 2016, Wilatluk organised a 10 days training in hand felting and needle felting in Kathmandu, with a leading wool felt teacher and designer invited from the UK. The training was open to interested Nepalese women free of charge. We had expected about 15 participants, and over 40 women turned up wanting to be trained. We welcome everyone and quickly restructured and extended the training period. Having trained over 50 women in two separate sites, NAUSENI continued to work with a smaller group of women to further train them to be trainers and lead artisans.
NAUSENI’s core team in Nepal comprises a group of in-house trained female artisans in their twenties to sixties, from Gorkha and Kathmandu. NAUSENI also collaborates with networks of female artisans in and around Kathmandu Valley, and connect with wool farmers in Gorkha.