About

The Miller Family

 

Kahiniwalla

<ka•'hee•nee•'wal•uh> (Bangla)  n. meaning a purveyor of stories, a storyteller, a traveling story teller; (North America) prop n. meaning a business which distributes Fair Trade product in North America which both are handmade and have a story.

About Us

Our family had the incredible privilege of spending nearly 8 years in the beautiful country of Bangladesh. Two of our sons were born there, and all three of them learned to play football, aka soccer, eat spicy rice and curry with their fingers, stay balanced on the back of rickshaws and drink countless cups of cha. Bangladeshis welcomed us into their homes and communities with a warmth and grace I have yet to find anywhere else on the planet. When we finished our term with Mennonite Central Committee and moved back to Ohio in 2010, we left behind countless uncles, aunties, brothers, sisters and sister-in-laws. When Samantha, the founder of Pebble, asked us to be the US distributors for the brand, we were thrilled to have a continuing connection to our second home.

 

About Bangladesh

Bangladesh is a small country, about the size of Wisconsin. It is nestled between India and Myanmar and is home to nearly 165 million people. It's capital, Dhaka, is the most densely populated city on the planet. It is still a developing country, having won Independence in 1971 after a bitter war fought over the right to speak their native language, Bangla.


More About Pebble

We first met Samantha and her husband, Morshed, at a small Holiday Craft Fair at the International School our boys attended in Dhaka. Over the years, we began consulting with them, amazed at the quality control and scaling Pebble was modeling. Samantha began teaching a dozen women how to knit and crochet in 2004, with the hopes of producing products that could be sold on the international market. By the time we met her, it had grown to be a job source for more than 2000 women. Today, Pebble provides jobs to more than 12,000 women in over 120 rural centers. The women can walk to work, taking their babies with them. Most of the centers have a nursery and/or preschool for the little ones. These women are being paid a fair wage, which ensures that they can feed their families 3 meals a day, send their children to school and begin saving for the future. This is changing entire communities as the women are now given a voice in traditionally very patriarchal communities. Women in these areas no longer need to leave their children with grandparents and migrate to the cities, where the main source of employment is working long days in a garment factory. Pebble keeps families together and prevents human trafficking, forced prostitution and unsafe work environments.

You can watch a short video about Pebble here.



What is Fair Trade?

  • creates opportunities through trading partnerships with marginalized producers.
  • develops transparent and accountable relationships.
  • builds capacity and promotes the independence of producers vs. dependence that NGO models produce
  • gets everyone thinking by asking questions about conventional and alternative supply chains
  • promotes prompt and fair pay. By the time you see one of our Pebble rattles, the woman who made it has already been paid, whether we sell the rattle or not.
  • it means that work environments are safe and healthy and there is no forced labor. Women who make Pebble can come and go in between house work and the needs of their families.
  • it ensures the rights of children. When the parents are able to earn fair wages, the children can go to school and there is no need for them to work.
  • it cultivates environmental stewardship. Not only are Pebble products made without the use of machinery and electricity, centers are strategically set up in areas where both forests and animals are endangered, to provide alternative options of employment.
  • it respects cultural identity by celebrating the diversity of communities. Women of different religious and cultural backgrounds are brought together and work side by side.


What is "Kahiniwalla" and what is "Pebble"?

Pebble is the brand name and Kahiniwalla is the name of the US based distributor of this beautiful line.



On A Personal Note

Having spent many years in Bangladesh, we can tell you first hand the difference the dignity of a fairly-paid job makes. We have looked into the eyes of these precious women and been awed at the force being unleashed for positive change in a land long held captive to poverty and natural disasters. We are committed to telling their stories and keeping this avenue of change open by bringing their beautiful handmade works of art to your doorstep. Every stitch is made with love, in a happy and safe place where world-changers are being born. We hope you will join us by being part of the Pebble story.

Warmly,

Austin & Marita