CORR: The Jute Works (CJW) was started in 1973 by CARITAS/Bangladesh, a Catholic service organization, to help rural women provide supplemental income for their families. CJW continues to bring about qualitative changes in women’s lives by providing them with opportunity for economic viability and social progress.
At present, 3,524 artisans, who are members of 154 artisan groups, are supported by CJW’s work. CJW provides product design assistance, access to a credit fund, and trainings that deal with issues that affect artisans lives, like leadership development, women’s rights, HIV-AIDS awareness, and accounting. CJW also uses part of the funds from craft sales to provide educational support to poor students who would not otherwise have a chance to attend school.
Many of CJW’s products are made from jute, a sustainable fiber found abundantly in Bangladesh. CJW has been working with jute farmers who had begun to abandon their harvest because of low prices. Together, they are developing production of high quality, organic, fair trade jute that will benefit CJW and small farmers.