[This article originally appeared in the December 2014 issue of Rug News andDesign Magazine.]


Students in class at Project Mala’s school in Village Guria, Varanasi, GT Road.

Project Mala, founded 1989



  • Children receive an education, free uniform, food, medical care, sports and cultural training.
  • Sponsor a child with no long-term commitment.

Global Fund For Children, founded in 1993


  • “Works to advance the dignity of children worldwide”, “by making small grants to innovative community based organizations working with […] children and youths.”
  • “Received the Charity Navigator’s 4 star rating—the highest rating achievable—for sound fiscal management and commitment to accountability and transparency.”
  • Donate to help the lives of children around the world.

Care and Fair, founded in 1994


  • “An industry initiative of the European carpet trade and, therefore, the form of an engaged and responsible part of the industry.”
  • Donate to help support playgrounds, uniforms, school furniture, sewing machines, mobile health camps and new computers.

Goodweave, founded in 1994


  • A licensing program to help monitor and “eliminate child labor” in the rug industry.
  • Donations go “to ensure carpet kids are rescued from exploitation and offered educational opportunities.”



We care. We care about the products that come into our homes. We care about the products we sell. We, being all of us who are involved in the rug industry. Every day we are learning more about the needs of the consumer— many of whom really care about where the rugs come from and what is being done to help those communities.

December is the month, for many religions, when holidays of good cheer, reflection on the past year and making promises for the new year happen. Nine months ago, I started on a journey to learn more, and share more, about those that are the backbone of the rug industry. Eye Am The Rug Industry. We Are Watching. Visual Campaign is only in its infancy. Nine months of reflection and still thousands of pictures to sort through and thousands more to take—has lead me to one simple conclusion—it is the small acts of the individual that will make change within the rug industry. The organizations listed are the beginning of what I hope will become a large cross-country list of organizations and communities working to make change happen in the Rug Industry. Share the list with your buyers and your consumers. If someone asks how they can help make change happen in the rug industry, here are the ones I, Rug News andDesign, have visited and seen—the schools, the clients and the programs and the beaming faces of children and women.

Our goal for 2015 is to visit more communities within the rug industry. It is our goal to be an unbiased observer for the rug community. There are many countries to visit. I might not make it everywhere in the next year. If you have visited these countries, please share a picture with us. We would like to share your personal story of visiting a rug community. Our second goal is to get the website for Eye Am The Rug Industry. We Are Watching. Visual Campaign up and running. This website will be a place where the general public can see, in one location, all the different people and organizations that are working hard to improve the lives of the rug communities.

Any insight, stories, pictures, or organizations we have not heard of/written about, please communicate with Sarah Stroh, andDesign editor for Rug News andDesign and In the Field Observer for Eye Am The Rug Industry. We Are Watching. Visual Campaign.


In India it is common practice to take your shoes off before entering a room. Here are the children’s shoes outside the classrooms of a Care & Fair school in Bhadohi.
The daily chores — collecting cuttings to feed your animals. Typical scene of women and child doing this daily chore. Seen in the Bhadohi area.
The young man sitting on the bike with his back to us is the driver. Notice the difference in dress amongst the young men and the boys. Shows the difference in wealth, shows they are also socializing? Seen in the Bhadohi area.
Young girl swimming on a Sunday in the Ghanges, in Varanasi. She captured me as she swam, with a smile and knowing she was beating the boy swimmers around her.
Children in one of the rural rug families we visited in the Bhadohi area. When we arrived, they were playing and laughing around the house. Then they saw (maybe for the first time) a blond, white boy, curiosity and shyness took over.
A young boy curious of us as we toured the Panipat area with Goodweave.
Children coming home from a local school in the Bhadohi area.