Sunday, November 27, 2011

Nina Smith

The Awesome Woman for Today is Nina Smith, founder and executive director of Goodweave ( Goodweave encourages handmade rug-weaving shops in South Asia to refrain from using child labor. Goodweave obtains a contractual agreement from shop owners to:
- Adhere to the no-child-labor standard and not employ any person under age 14
- Allow unannounced random inspections by local inspectors
- Endeavor to pay fair wages to adult workers, and
- Pay a licensing fee that helps support GoodWeave’s monitoring, inspections and education programs.

Exported Goodweave-certified rugs then carry the Goodweave label so that you know your rug purchase does not support exploitation of children. Non-Goodweave certified rugs might be made by children who kept locked inside dark shops, are not educated nor fed well, and some of whom are slaves who are not even paid. x

Goodweave also rescues children who have been sold into rug-making slavery, out of desperation, by their parents for amounts as small as $2.50. The rescued children are given refuge in a rehabilitation center where they also receive education, training and love. 

A fair trade advocate and marketing professional for over 15 years, Nina won the 2005 Skoll award for Social Entrepreneurship, acknowledging her work to employ market strategies for social change. Nina was formerly the executive director of The Crafts Center (1995–1999), a nonprofit organization providing marketing and technical assistance to indigenous artisans around the world and publisher of Crafts News. As president of the Fair Trade Federation (FTF) from 1996 to 1998, Nina raised funds for and launched FTF’s first consumer education campaign. Nina’s overseas experience includes a crafts export consultancy to the Tibetan Government-in-Exile in Dharamsala, India from 1994 to 1996, where she oversaw the development of new market-driven product lines, quality control mechanisms, and artisan training programs. Nina’s broad expertise includes nonprofit management, writing and publishing, marketing, public relations and small business development.

The Goodweave program has won The Best in America Seal, that is awarded to less than 1 percent of U.S. charities, and only after rigorous independent review has determined that the highest standards of public accountability, program effectiveness and cost effectiveness are met.

Full disclosure: Nina Smith also happens to be my super awesome first cousin.