The death toll from the earthquakes in Nepal, which occurred on April 25 and May 12, has surpassed 8,500 in the country's deadliest disaster on record. The rug industry is reaching out. KAS Rugs, headquartered in Somerset, New Jersey, has donated $20,000 to relief efforts, and company employees' donations will also be added to the funds. New York City-based design firm ALT for Living is encouraging donations to support groups including Good Weave, Global Giving, Save the Children and Direct Relief, and the company is also working on a fund-raising plan of its own to help those impacted.
Surya, a rug and decor producer, donated $20,000 to the American Red Cross, with employees' and sales reps' donations being matched by the company. “Our hearts go out to the people of Nepal as they work to rebuild their communities after this devastating event,” Satya Tiwari, Surya’s president, said. “We can only imagine the challenges and uncertainty that lie ahead and wanted to reach out in some small way to help those affected begin the road to recovery.”
The hand-sewn crewel work rug raffled off by Classic Rug Collection, Inc.
The Rug Company has donated to the Disasters Emergency Committee, and has also set up a fund for its own weavers. "Our hearts go out to everyone in this beautiful country, which has already faced such devastation. Alongside the support that we are giving directly to our weavers, we have donated to the Disasters Emergency Committee in their relief efforts and hope that our customers will join in doing the same. Many of them have asked us about our weavers and how they can help them specifically," said CEO and co-founder Christopher Sharp. “We have set up a fund that enabled them to return to their villages immediately after the first earthquake. The process of rebuilding will be a long one, and we are working directly with our colleagues there to establish the most effective way we can continue to support them.”
Classic Rug Collection, Inc. said its factories are up and running, and the company has raffled off a hand-sewn crewelwork rug to raise funds for the Nepal GoodWeave Foundation, an organization that certifies factories in Nepal and India as child labor–free. Company president President Barbara Barran, who was in touch with workers during the aftermath of the disaster, said, "Our suppliers in Nepal are our friends and partners and we will stand by them. We wouldn't think of moving our production elsewhere." The company is also sending higher-than-usual deposits for new orders so that the manufacturers will have cash on hand. "At this point," said Barran, "the best way to help Nepal is to buy a hand-knotted rug!"
Stark will donate 10% of proceeds from sales of Nepal-made rugs in stock (which will be marked with a red sticker) to the ACHA Himalayan Sisterhood for the month of June. The Sisterhood has helped 115 families recovering from the deaths of their relatives and friends, as well as from injuries and home losses, and has also allied with other grassroots organizations to distribute tents and a two-week supply of food to over 1,000 families living in the most-impacted rural areas of the country. “Stark has been doing business in Nepal for more than five decades and we are heartbroken about the tragedy that the earthquake and its aftershocks have caused. It is a country which we know well and to which we have deep connections,” said senior vice president Chad Stark. “Our priority right now is on this exquisite country’s revival. We know that most of our closest circle of partners, friends, and family there are safe, but the country needs help and we need to do all that we can to aid in their recovery.” Learn more about Stark's efforts, and how to contribute, here.