Afghani-American Rug Co. Owners First Importer of GoodWeave Afghanistan RugsNovember 20, 2012 by Sally Farhat Kassab
Ariana Rugs Earns First GoodWeave® Child-labor-free Certification in Afghanistan
Ariana Rugs, Inc. of Los Angeles, CA, has joined the GoodWeave® certification program, marking an international milestone as the first importer of Afghanistan rugs with a supply chain that is certified child-labor-free.
“Carpet weaving is Afghanistan’s largest legal industry, and GoodWeave hopes to help revitalize the industry in a fair and ethical way,” says Nina Smith, executive director of GoodWeave USA, a nonprofit organization working to eliminate child labor in the handmade rug industry. “We’re delighted to be working with Ariana Rugs. Their rugs are among the finest in the world and the Ahmadi family is a partner through and through, deeply committed to improving conditions for Afghan weaving communities, and especially for the children who are most vulnerable.”
GoodWeave uses a market-based model to achieve its goals by licensing U.S. and European importers and their exporters in Asia who commit to the GoodWeave standard. Each GoodWeave rug carries a label with a number that can be traced through the supply chain, certifying that the rug was made child-labor-free. Since 1994, 8 million child-labor-free carpets bearing the GoodWeave label have been sold worldwide, and the number of “carpet kids” has dropped from 1 million to 250,000.
Ariana Rugs owners, siblings Ahmad, Alex and Nadia Ahmadi, were born and raised in Afghanistan and have deep roots there. Today their company is part of the revitalization of the handmade carpet industry in their homeland. Their rugs’ beautiful modern aesthetic, gorgeous colors, perfectionism in craft and the company’s commitment to ethical business have made Ariana a brand in high demand around the world.
“Afghanistan was synonymous with rugs, and it’s a beautiful craft and artwork that has been handed to us. We are responsible for taking that heritage to the next generation. We need to remove child labor from this art form,” says Ahmad Ahmadi. “All Afghans are proud that their country creates rugs, and we want to bring peace of mind to the end users.”
The GoodWeave label on an Ariana rug is a clear signal to designers, retailers and shoppers in the West that they are making purchases to help rebuild communities in Afghanistan. The first GoodWeave certified Ariana rugs available for sale in North American and European markets will include the Hazara and Barchi collections, as well as kilims and fine Persian designs.
GoodWeave USA now licenses 95 North American rug importers, conducting frequent, unannounced inspections of their looms to verify that they only employ weavers of legal working age. Each company’s licensing fees support GoodWeave’s work to rescue, rehabilitate and educate former child weavers and other at-risk children in the weaving communities of India, Nepal and Afghanistan. In Afghanistan, GoodWeave social programs include day care, early childhood education and primary and secondary educational support for children of weavers, as well as vision care for adult weavers. These programs are slated to expand in 2013. Visit www.GoodWeave.org/Afghanistan for more information.