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!
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.
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.
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.
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’.
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.
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.
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
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.
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)
OPTION 2 - RANGPUR (PEACOCK)
OPTION 3 - KURIGRAM (GEOMETRIC)
OPTION 4 - GAIBANDHA (LEAF)
Our colourways are named after the mothers we're partnering with and their children:
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!