Khushi Kantha - embroidered with empowerment

by Laura Rana, Founder in London, England, United Kingdom

£10,610

£10,000 target 19 hours left
106% 214 supporters
This project will only be funded if at least £10,000 is pledged by 19th May 2021 at 4:02pm

Help create our first collection of sustainable, multi-purpose baby blankets - every purchase empowers a mother in Bangladesh.

by Laura Rana, Founder in London, England, United Kingdom

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Khushi Kantha ('Happy Blanket') creates sustainable, multi-purpose baby blankets with a vibrant stand out factor.

Hand-stitched from ethically sourced cotton and embroidered with empowerment by mothers in Bangladesh, each one comes with a unique story attached.

As practical as they are pretty, a Khushi Kantha makes the perfect gift. Besides being used as a blanket, Khushi Kanthas can function as pram liners, sun shades, mini playmats, breastfeeding covers….or even as a makeshift changing mats when the need arises!1615120986_cf-image.jpg

MY STORY: From mother to mother

I gave birth to my half-British, half-Bangladeshi twin daughters Opi and Mahi in July 2019.

I spent the first half of my pregnancy working on the humanitarian response to the Rohingya refugee crisis in Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh. I was overwhelmed by the compassion and generosity of the mothers from the communities hosting the refugees, who had welcomed nearly 1 million Rohingya men, women and children fleeing across the border from Myanmar with open arms, despite struggling to provide for their own families.1615398992_cf-image2.png

Time and time again, I’ve been amazed by the strength and spirit of Bangladeshi mothers living below the poverty line.

When I became pregnant, I couldn’t stop thinking about all the opportunities my daughters would have, and how unfair it was that other mothers couldn’t give their children everything they deserve. 

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The birth of an idea

When my girls were born, they were gifted a large collection of traditional ‘kantha’ blankets, loving handmade by my Bangladeshi mother-in-law and sister-in-law, with support from their local community. 

I was a bit overwhelmed to receive so many, and wondered what we were going to do with them all....but I quickly understood their numerous uses. They washed really well and dried quickly, and their bright colours and traditional ‘kantha’ stitching were drawing compliments wherever we went!

I realised there could be a market for them, and this was how I could create opportunities for mothers in Bangladesh to use their existing skills and draw on their cultural heritage to generate sustainable incomes.

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What does Khushi Kantha mean?

‘Kantha’ (which translates as “stitched cloth”) refers to the tradition of mothers crafting multi-layered blankets for their babies by stitching together their old saris. 

‘Kantha’ can also simply mean ‘blanket’. 

‘Khushi’ is the Bengali term for ‘happy’ – ‘Khushi Kantha’ therefore means ‘Happy Blanket’.

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Why do we call them Happy Blankets?

A Khushi Kantha is:

  • Multi-purpose - Our blankets can be used for just about every task on a parent’s daily to-do list, which means you can ‘buy less and buy better’.
  • Handmade with love - Each blanket takes up to 20 hours to hand-stitch.
  • Made to last - Instilled with the strength and spirit of the mothers who create them, our blankets are designed to withstand the daily wear-and-tear of life with a little one.
  • A purchase with purpose - We create opportunities for mothers in Bangladesh to provide for their children with dignity and strengthen the fabric of community, re-investing profits locally in line with the priorities of our stitchers.

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Why do we want to raise £10,000?

£10,000 is the equivalent of 200 pre-orders at £50 each.

We will use the money to train the first group of mothers, purchase fabric, embroidery threads and other raw materials, and make, safety test and transport our first collection of ‘happy blankets.

East meets West: Regenerating the kantha tradition

Khushi Kantha’s designs represent a cultural fusion, combining traditional Bengali ‘kantha’ stitching and animal motifs with geometric patterns and a contemporary colour palette.  

And we’re reworking the ‘kantha’ approach to meet global hygiene and safety standards, while retaining the principles of reclaim-repurpose-reuse and bringing the cultural heritage of Bangladesh to a wider audience.

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A Khushi Kantha is created from six layers of 100% cotton fabric:

  • The outside layers are made from ethically-produced traditional handloom fabric. 
  • We're partnering with sustainably-minded members of the Bangladeshi garments industry to breathe new life into 'deadstock' cotton fabric, by upcycling it as the inside layers of our blankets.

Our blankets come packaged in a re-usable pouch made from a vintage sari offcut.

Feedback from our first customers

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All mothers want the best for their children - with your support, Khushi Kantha can help provide it!

Launching a social enterprise operating between the UK and Bangladesh during a global pandemic is challenging, to say the least – but I love a good challenge!

Over the past 18 months, I've poured my time, energy and heart into figuring out how to turn my social enterprise dream into reality, with brilliant support from Khushi Kantha’s community of volunteers and pro-bono heroes.

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Please contribute to our crowdfunding campaign so that we can create our first collection of 'Happy Blankets', and start building better futures for the next generation - and spread the word to others!

Buying a blanket

We're offering four embroidery designs, named after some of our favourite parts of North-West Bangladesh, where our blankets are hand-stitched.

OPTION 1 - DINAJPUR (ELEPHANT)  

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OPTION 2 - RANGPUR (PEACOCK)

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OPTION 3 - KURIGRAM (GEOMETRIC)

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OPTION 4 - GAIBANDHA (LEAF)

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COLOURWAYS

Our colourways are named after the mothers we're partnering with and their children:

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A Khushi Kantha is a different colour on each side – so it’s like getting two blankets in one! You can choose any two of these colours - but we can use the same colours on both sides if you prefer.

Our fabric supplier uses colourfast certified natural dyes - and will be creating bespoke dyes especially for us. The natural dyeing process means that the colours may vary slightly from the image above, which adds to the uniqueness of our Happy Blankets.

Personalisation: You can add personalisation if you choose the 'personalised blanket' option - we'll be in touch to confirm the details.

Dimensions: A Khushi Kantha is 1m x 0.75cm.

Questions: If you have any questions about our blankets, and/or any of the other reward options, drop us a line on [email protected], and we'll get back to you as soon as we can!

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Rewards

This project offers rewards in return for your donation.

£50 or more

Buy a blanket

Own or gift a Khushi Kantha! A sustainable, multi-purpose baby blanket, hand-stitched from reclaimed and ethically-sourced cotton and embroidered with empowerment by mothers in Bangladesh. Choose from four embroidery options (scroll to the bottom of the page to view the options), and we'll be in touch to confirm your preferred colours. Includes free delivery within the UK - contact us for a delivery quote if you're based outside the UK.

£20 or more

Help us train one mother

£20 would pay to train one mother. As a thank you for your contribution, we'll give you a shout-out on our social media channels & in our newsletter.

£30 or more

Learn to make a Khushi Kantha

Learn to make your very own 'Happy Blanket' through an online workshop hosted by Yodomo - https://yodomo.co/products/make-your-own-khushi-kantha-happy-blanket-online-course. Note that the workshop will be pre-recorded rather than live - so you can access the sessions whenever suits you best.

£70 or more

Personalised blanket

Your Khushi Kantha will have the baby's name/initials/date of birth/other simple text of your choice embroidered onto it - the ultimate 'one-of-a-kind' item to treasure. Choose from four embroidery designs (scroll to the bottom of the page to view the options), and we'll be in touch to confirm your preferred colours. Includes free delivery within the UK - contact us for a delivery quote if you're based outside the UK.

£100 or more

Celebrating the fabric of community

As well as a Khushi Kantha of your choice, you'll receive an invitation to our launch event in London, which will feature a Bangladeshi feast and a demonstration of the kantha embroidery technique.

£150 or more

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Design your own Khushi Kantha

Work with our designer to develop your own embroidery design, to be hand-stitched by a mother in Bangladesh. Includes free delivery within the UK - contact us for a delivery quote if you're based outside the UK.

£200 or more

A Khushi Kantha for grown-ups!

Your very own Khushi Kantha in 'grown up size' (to fit a king-size double bed). Choose from four embroidery options (scroll to the bottom of the page to view the options), and we'll be in touch to confirm your preferred colours. Includes free delivery within the UK - contact us for a delivery quote if you're based outside the UK.

£500 or more

Feature on our website & packaging inserts

We will convey our extreme gratitude by featuring an image of your choice (e.g. your company logo) on our website and packaging inserts.

£45 or more

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Buy a blanket - early bird!

Get a 10% discount on your very own Khushi Kantha! A sustainable, multi-purpose baby blanket, hand-stitched from reclaimed and ethically-sourced cotton and embroidered with empowerment by mothers in Bangladesh. Choose from four embroidery options, and we'll be in touch to confirm your preferred colours. Includes free delivery within the UK - contact us for a delivery quote if you're based outside the UK.

£45 or more

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Buy a blanket - 10% off!

We're so lucky to have had some generous donations, which mean we can offer some more discounted blankets! Get a 10% discount on your very own Khushi Kantha! A sustainable, multi-purpose baby blanket, hand-stitched from reclaimed and ethically-sourced cotton and embroidered with empowerment by mothers in Bangladesh. Choose from four embroidery options, and we'll be in touch to confirm colour options. Includes free delivery within the UK.

Let's make 'Khushi Kantha - embroidered with empowerment' happen

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