The late Tulsi Mehar Shrestha, the Mahatma Gandhi of Nepal, founded the Nepal Charkha Pracharak Gandhi Smarak Mahaguthi (NCPGSM), literally meaning the organisation for promotion of the spinning wheel, and the Gandhi Memorial Trust in 1926. Mahaguthi came into existence as a pioneer non-governmental, non-political social service organisation. It is the oldest social organisation established with the objectives of making the poor economically self-reliant and introducing community development and social reform. The first programme it launched was for training in the production of khadi; coarse homespun cloth. Since then, the Mahaguthi has run several social development programmes in different parts of the country for the upliftment of the poor, helpless, neglected, and destitute.
Nepal Charkha Pracharak Gandhi Smarak Mahaguthi (NCPGSM) has introduced several programmes. Among them are the Tulsi Mehar Mahalia Ashram (TMMA), founded in 1972 AD, where needy and destitute women and children are provided with food, shelter, health facilities, literacy classes, schooling for children, and vocational training in various skills such as sewing, weaving, and knitting. In an effort to help the Ashram achieve self-sufficiency and independence, as well as to expand activities to support low-income craft producers, the members of OXFAM encouraged NCPGSM to open the Mahaguthi, Crafts. With a Conscience (CWC), which came into existence in 1984. The principles upon which Mahaguthi, CWC was founded are as follow.
To help stimulate the revival and development of handicraft production as an income-generating activity for poor and disadvantaged groups within Nepal.
To offer product development and design support to craft producers and to provide effective retail outlets, thus linking producers and markets.
To help support the programme for rehabilitation of destitute women and children of the Tulsi Mehar Mahila Ashram
Mahaguthi Shop provides a retail outlet for the goods produced by the women in the Ashram, as well as for other craft producers from all over Nepal. Mahaguthi Shop was the first of its kind in retail outlets for uniquely Nepali handicrafts.
Mahaguthi sells many handicraft products including wood carvings, traditional dolls, puzzles, hand-made Nepali paper products, woollen knitwear, hand woven cotton material, clothing, bedspreads, cushion covers, bamboo baskets, natural fibre products, and other handicrafts in over 2,000 ranges. The products manufactured in its own workshops include hand woven fabrics, block printed material, cushion covers, and plain clothing. To date, goods manufactured in-house have been primarily for export. The principal export clients are Alternative Trading Organisations. Recently efforts have been made to enter the commercial mainstream market as well.
PO Box: 13762, Kathmandu
Member Organisation of Fair Trade Group, Nepal
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