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Hi everyone,

all my collegeues in exports would be aware of the prevalent dismal social compliance.

Compliance to labour norms is not reqd by govt bodies alone, it now permeates "responsible consumerism"

read/ subscribe to the rugmark newsletter...........

http://www.rugmark.org/

surya

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RugMark Foundation

Press Kit

Contents

Background on RugMark Page 1

Facts and Figures Page 2

Re-weaving Children’s Dreams Page 3

The Most Beautiful Rug – RugMark’s Page 4

Campaign to End Child Labor

For more information please visit: www.RugMark.org or

e-mail

RugMark Foundation

2001 S Street NW, Suite 430

Washington, D.C. 20009

Tel:

Fax:

Background

About RugMark Foundation

Founded in 1994, RugMark is a global nonprofit organization working to end illegal child labor in the carpet industry and offer educational opportunities to children in India, Nepal and Pakistan. RugMark accomplishes its mission through loom and factory monitoring, consumer labeling, and by offering education to former child weavers. The RugMark label offers the best assurance that no illegal child labor was used.

About the RugMark Certification Label

The RugMark certification label helps socially conscious consumers identify child-labor-free rugs and put an end to child labor. Through its certification program, RugMark randomly inspects the looms of companies that agree to employ adults only. When children are found working, they are offered the chance to go to school instead.

Certification ensures that:

• No child labor was used in the manufacture of a carpet or rug.

• RugMark inspectors have visited the loom or factory where the rug was made.

• A percentage of the purchase price for each rug pays for the education of former child laborers.

To receive the RugMark certification, manufacturers sign a legally binding contract to:

• Produce carpets without illegal child labor.

• Register all looms with the RugMark Foundation.

• Allow access to looms for unannounced inspections.

• Pay associated license fees.

To ensure compliance, inspectors trained and supervised by RugMark monitor carpet looms regularly. To protect against counterfeit labeling, each label is numbered so its origin can be traced. In North America, only licensed RugMark importers are legally permitted to sell carpets carrying the RugMark label.

Rehabilitation and Education

RugMark’s rehabilitation and education program is integral to its overall effort to end illegal child labor. Currently 3,172 former child laborers and children of adult weavers are studying with RugMark support. RugMark prioritizes community-based rehabilitation, making every effort to reunite children with their families. A child, along with his or her parents, decides whether to enroll in a RugMark boarding school or to move home and attend a public or private school with RugMark support. Children who return to live with their families are given support for school fees, books, uniforms, and other materials. The educational programs are designed, so that children first go through intensive literacy training, preparing them for a formal education. Formal educational programs include English, Hindi, Nepali, Urdu, math, and science. An emphasis is also put on physical fitness and extra-curricular pursuits, such as music and art. RugMark schools encourage high academic standards, and every effort is made to help the children continue their education at least through high school. Children over 14 are encouraged to join RugMark-financed vocational training programs, enabling them to support themselves once program assistance ends.

To learn more about RugMark, please visit www.RugMark.org. __________________________________________________ __________________________________________________ _______________

RUGMARK Foundation �� 2001 S Street NW, Suite 430 �� Washington, D.C. 20009 �� 202-234-9050 �� 202-347-4885 �� www.RugMark.org

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Facts & Figures (as of July 2007. To fact check, please contact )

About RugMark

• In its first 10 years RugMark has helped to reduce child labor in the South Asian carpet industry by two-thirds.

• Since 1995 more than 5.5 million carpets have been certified child-labor-free by RugMark.

• RugMark rescued 144 children from labor on the looms and prevented thousands more from slavery in 2006.

• 3,172 children attended school and daycare programs sponsored by RugMark in 2006.

• In September 1994, the RugMark Foundation was formally established by a coalition of non-governmental organizations, businesses, government entities, and multilateral groups, such as UNICEF.

• The first carpets bearing the RugMark label were exported from India to Germany at the beginning of 1995.

In North America

• The U.S. constitutes the largest market for hand-knotted carpets, valued at approximately $1.1 billion in retail sales. (Home Furnishing News, February 27, 2007)

• RugMark certified rugs currently represent 2 percent of total U.S. handmade rug imports.

• Forty rug import companies sell RugMark certified rugs, which are available through more than 1,000 retail stores, showrooms and online retailers that can be found at www.RugMark.org.

• Imports of RugMark certified rugs have grown from $0 in 1996 to $8.9 million in 2006, representing growth of 27%.

• In 2006 approximately $45 million in retail sales of RugMark certified rugs in North America generated $90,000 to educate and assist for former child laborers and children of weavers in South Asia.

In India

�� Six RugMark schools and one rehabilitation center provide education to more than 2,000 former child weavers. 316 exporters, representing approximately 16% of all registered carpet looms, are licensed under RugMark.

• An estimated 14% of children aged 5-14 are engaged in child labor activities, including carpet production. (The State of the World’s Children 2006, UNICEF)

In Nepal

• RugMark inspects 529 manufacturers representing 65% of Nepal’s carpet exports.

• 1,739 children have been removed from exploitation on carpet looms since 1995.

• Over 35,000 factory inspections have been carried out by RugMark since December 1996.

About Illegal Child Labor

• One in seven or 218 million children in the world today work illegally. (The International Labor Organization)

• Nearly 300,000 children are exploited in the carpet industry to weave rugs for North American and European homes.

• Children ages 4 to 14 are kidnapped or trafficked, sold into debt bondage or forced labor, and suffer malnutrition, impaired vision, deformities and wounds.

• Ending child labor would help the global economy: A study by the International Labor Organization shows that it would cost $760 billion to end child labor, but the economic benefits through increasing jobs and education would be about seven times that – an estimated additional $5.1 trillion in economies where child laborers are found.

• Rugs are among South Asia’s top export products and the industry is a major employer of the poor. If child exploitation is a norm in a country’s principal industry, there is little chance to break the extreme cycle of poverty without an effort such as the RugMark campaign.

• Consumer demand for certified child-labor-free products drives the process of eliminating illegal child labor. __________________________________________________ __________________________________________________ _______________

RUGMARK Foundation �� 2001 S Street NW, Suite 430 �� Washington, D.C. 20009 �� 202-234-9050 �� 202-347-4885 �� www.RugMark.org

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Re-Weaving Children’s Dreams

Behind the Loom: The Story of Hem Moktan

Hem Moktan grew up in a squatter settlement in Valpani, Chitwan Nepal. His parents earned a small wage as farm laborers, but it was barely enough to feed their six children. So when a man came to Hem’s father with an offer to provide food and clothing plus a salary for work in the city, he considered it a great opportunity for his son.

Hem was brought to a carpet factory in Kathmandu where the hopes of his parents quickly dissolved. He was forced to work day and night, often half-starved and regularly beaten. After three years, Hem had earned 3,000 rupees - the equivalent of 45 American dollars.

RugMark inspectors found Hem working on February 3, 1999. He was only 12 years-old. Hem was offered psychological support and enrolled in a RugMark-sponsored school for formal education. Though illiterate at the time of his rescue, Hem has distinguished himself as a disciplined student, quickly progressing to class eight, then 10 and obtaining his School Leaving Certificate in 2006. Today, Hem studies at PTI College in Lalitpur and plans to be a social worker.

Former Carpet Slaves Tailor New Lives

In 2006 two former carpet slaves were hired as instructors in a RugMark vocational training program. Punil and Bhola are both from Bihar, India’s poorest state where nearly 50 percent of the population lives below the poverty line and illiteracy and infant mortality rates soar. Devastating poverty and extreme corruption have made Bihar the primary source point for trafficked children who end up working in various industries in India, including carpet weaving.

Punil and Bhola fell victim to this system and worked as rug laborers until RugMark inspectors found them in 1997 and 1998, respectively. They were admitted to the Balashraya Center for Child Laborers, and after completing their formal education and vocational training, Punil and Bhola qualified for openings in RugMark’s tailoring training program.

Partnership Increases Literacy, Prevents Trafficking __________________________________________________ __________________________________________________ _______________

RUGMARK Foundation �� 2001 S Street NW, Suite 430 �� Washington, D.C. 20009 �� 202-234-9050 �� 202-347-4885 �� www.RugMark.org

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RugMark, in partnership with the Academy of Educational Development, has broadened the scope of its efforts on the ground to include a child labor prevention program. Launched in 2006, this initiative offers basic literacy and awareness for carpet workers over the legal working age of 14. RugMark has educated 700 weavers across 20 participating factories on topics such as child rights, family planning, trafficking, HIV/AIDs, health, nutrition, sanitation and working conditions.

The issue of trafficking is given special attention, as carpet workers and their children are particularly vulnerable. An ILO-IPEC report, International Trafficking Among Children Engaged in Prostitution, unveils that three out of nine trafficking survivors were first recruited to carpet factories.

Educating female rug weavers about these perils is especially urgent. According to the U.S. State Department’s 2006 Trafficking in Persons Report, an estimated 12,000 Nepali women and children are trafficked into sexual slavery in India every single year.

(Photos are available upon request or by visiting our press room at http://www.rugmark.org/news.php?cid=6)

The Most Beautiful Rug - RugMark’s Campaign to End Child Labor

In 2006, RugMark USA launched The Most Beautiful Rug, a national consumer awareness campaign designed to reduce, and ultimately eliminate, illegal child labor in the handmade rug industry. The campaign goal is to increase the market share of RugMark-certified rugs from one percent to seven percent over three years. The ultimate goal is to achieve 15% market share by 2012, which according to RugMark estimates, is the tipping point to completely eliminate child labor from South Asia’s handmade rug industry. Over this period, every gained percentage point in market share will equate to a projected 750 children rescued from the workplace and 1,000 more who will be saved from entering the industry. The marketing campaign is designed to:

�� Raise consumer awareness about and demand for the RugMark label

�� Increase sales of RugMark-certified rugs currently available in the marketplace

�� Expand availability and selection by growing the importer and retailer base

The Most Beautiful Rug has national scope with regional emphasis in two influential markets - New York and San Francisco. The primary audience for the campaign is the high-end rug purchaser, as 90% of existing RugMark-certified rugs are sold through high-end showrooms to affluent consumers who often dictate market trends.

The Most Beautiful Rug campaign is sponsored by media partners California Home + Design, Conscious Living TV, Dwell, Interior Design, METROPOLIS, the Modern Luxury Publishing Group’s Angelo, Chicago Style, DC and Houston magazines, and Western Interiors, and by a grant from the Skoll Foundation. Components of the campaign include:

Advertising – Award-winning advertising firm Crispin, Porter + Bogusky developed creative material for the campaign on a pro-bono basis designed to open audience eyes to the problem and enable them to feel good about helping children through their certified purchases. The humanitarian message behind “The most beautiful thing about an imported rug” is that a rug made by a child is ugly no matter what it looks like.

Point-of-Sale – Educating consumers at the point of purchase is one of the most targeted and effective ways to reach potential RugMark consumers. Marketing materials include brochures, counter cards, window decals, “Certificate of Origin” cards, and a special “How to Buy a Rug” guide. RugMark has also developed “tool kits” for importers and retailers to ensure they have the means to educate their sales staff and are promoting RugMark in every possible way – through the use of RugMark’s logo on ads, website promotion, and in-store activities.

Website – Consumers are directed to RugMark.org through advertising and media efforts, as well as through search engines and other promotions and incentives. The new site, which went live in September, serves as the campaign focal point. It includes easy access to showrooms and designers, tips for consumers, a list of scheduled campaign activities, highlights of campaign partners, and up-to-date news on the issue and the children who are helped through RugMark certified purchases.

Events – RugMark also reaches out to its audience through trade shows, workshops and targeted public venues. Events focus on trade-related opportunities, such as the San Francisco Design Center’s Winter Market and the International Contemporary Furniture Fair, as well as RugMark-specific events.

Editorial Outreach – Editorial outreach has resulted in several high-profile stories, including a two-page advertorial spread in California Home & Design’s Annual Design Sourcebook, an interview on PRI’s The World and feature stories in Traditional Home and LDB Interior Textiles Magazine. __________________________________________________ __________________________________________________ _______________

RUGMARK Foundation �� 2001 S Street NW, Suite 430 �� Washington, D.C. 20009 �� 202-234-9050 �� 202-347-4885 �� www.RugMark.org

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