Since being in Nepal, I have come into contact with several businesses that are trying to make a difference and help the local people. So throughout our time here I will be highlighting some of these businesses.
One such business is Purnaa, an ethical garment manufacturer. Purnaa provides cut and sew services for brands and designers, along with selling their own products to retailers. Purnaa has been up and running for almost four years now. They currently have 42 Nepali employees and hope to continue to expand and hire more people. Purnaa focuses on hiring people who are marginalized by society. This can cover a lot of different backgrounds, but the goal is to give people fresh starts and fulfilled lives. Corban Bryant, founder and director of Purnaa said, “Through business, we can create sustainable, long-term solutions for engaging the poorest and most marginalized in society.”
The reason Purnaa is called ethical is because they give their employees a living wage and treat them fairly. The business recently became World Fair Trade Organization guaranteed. This means that their business has been evaluated and deemed ethical. The wage that Purnaa pays their employees is above the national minimum wage and also above Nepal Fair Trade Group’s fair and living wage. The owners found that the minimum wage in Nepal was not a living wage for their employees and they wanted to make sure that their employees could take care of their own needs and live a comfortable life. Along with paying the employees a living wage, they also provide other services such as, profit sharing, a savings account for each employee, medical re-imbursement, children’s school scholarships, and free lunch and snacks.
Purnaa does more than just pay their employees fair wages and provide a safe working environment. They care about all aspects of their employees’ lives, including physical, mental, emotional and spiritual well-being. They want to see each employee grow and succeed. They provide different trainings including job skills (practical sewing training or other related job skills), life skills (literacy, numeracy, budgeting, health and safety, etc.), and personal development (activities that focus on areas such as communication, problem solving and emotional health).
Along with training, Purnaa provides a safe environment for support and growth. The Human Resources department is always available for the employees to talk to and if they need more counseling, Purnaa provides the help and time for them to do that. Rachel Hibberd, Human Resources Manager said, “Purnaa exists to help people, so we focus not only on our employees’ work life, but also on their life outside of work. If they are successful outside of work, they’ll be successful at work. We care about our employees’ whole life, not just their work life.”
Workers at Purnaa seem like a family. They work in teams and seem to always be having fun. They also enjoy break times together, celebrations together such as birthdays and holidays, and have team building times as well. If you visit Purnaa, it is obvious that the employees enjoy working there.