Purnaa is an ethical cut-and-sew contractor in Kathmandu, Nepal with a social mission to empower those marginalized by society to fresh starts and fulfilled lives.
Purnaa produce premium garments and accessories in a beautiful, “not-a-sweatshop”, manufacturing unit, passionate about quality manufacturing, environmental sustainability, and making Purnaa a great place to work. Purnaa is a social enterprise, which means that they gauge their success by the lives they impact. It also means that all of their profits are reinvested to further the social mission of creating training and job opportunities for survivors of abuse, exploitation and those discriminated against because of caste, religion or disease.
At Purnaa, employees receive fair wages; literacy classes, job-skills and life-skills training; health care; and employer matched savings, all in a positive work environment. All Purnaa employees are eligible for school scholarships for their children. In this way, Purnaa empowers the next generation to become less vulnerable to exploitation and to break free from the cycle of poverty.
Purnaa envisions a Nepal with sufficient employment to reduce poverty and make possible the eradication of modern day slavery.
Purnaa Business Philosophy
Purnaa is a for-profit business, but puts their social mission above the traditional business goal of creating returns for shareholders. They believe business has the potential to transform society; and therefore constantly strive for growth to expand the reach of their social mission.
What Do We Mean by “Marginalized People”
Purnaa creates job opportunities for those escaping exploitative situations in Nepal, but also seeks to prevent future exploitation by employing those whose marginalized status in society hinders them from finding work elsewhere. Simply put, “marginalized people” are those who are put or kept in a powerless or unimportant position within society.
In Nepal, those who are marginalized are often the most vulnerable to exploitation. This includes those that are discriminated against because they are from certain castes, or suffering certain illnesses, or from a looked down upon religious group. Often it is women who are treated as second-rate human beings, particularly when widowed. Purnaa offers training and jobs that provide dignity and a hopeful future for those existing on the fringes of Nepali society.
Purnaa's core values are Love, Beauty, Excellence, Justice and Integrity. These values drive their commitment to:
- The ethical and fair treatment of people
- Stopping human trafficking, slavery and labor exploitation
- Environmental sustainability
- High-quality products and services.
Businesses have the potential to transform society. They are in a unique position to contribute directly to their employees' holistic well being and growth. Through business, employers can create sustainable, long-term solutions for engaging the poorest and most marginalized in society.
Ethical employment is not just about fair wages. Purnaa has a work environment free of discrimination, where people are treated fairly and equally regardless of gender, race, religion or caste. Purnaa is committed to fostering and maintaining a safe and dignified workplace; creating an atmosphere where employees have a voice; and working toward the continuous growth of each person. At this time, Purnaa offers the following benefits:
- Employer matched saving accounts
- Employer provided health care funding
- Life-Skills learning opportunities: eg. literacy classes, parenting courses, and personal finance training
- Continuing Job Skills Development
- Opportunity to speak privately with a trained counselor during work hours
Purnaa chooses to operate in Nepal because of how few opportunities exist there for those marginalized by society. Nepal faces a number of economic and social challenges that result in a high percentage of the population being vulnerable to various forms of exploitation including sex trafficking, international labor exploitation, bonded labor and other domestic labor exploitation. These are some of the challenges that make people in Nepal vulnerable:
- Nepal is the second poorest nation in Asia,
- It recently suffered a devastating earthquake (April 2015),
- The average worker makes less than $4/day.
- Unemployment is currently above 40%.
- 1 in 5 Nepalis has left the country to find work abroad, often in situations that make them extremely vulnerable to abuse, exploitation, and bonded labor.
- Because of Nepal’s political instability and rampant corruption, businesses andgovernments are hesitant to invest here. This further minimizes the potential growth of the local job market.
- It endured a 5 month political blockade (beginning Sept 2015) of all goods from India, her primary supplier
- Nepal is recovering from a 10-year civil war that ended in 2006.
Purnaa believes that their social mission and commitment to environmental sustainability go hand-in-hand. They strive for ecologically sound business practices and strongly believe in the trekker’s mantra of “leave no trace.”
They are committed to offering a growing portfolio of ethically and sustainably sourced fabrics and inputs. Some of the most polluted places on the planet are in major textile manufacturing hubs. Sustainable clothing is not only about safe manufacturing and dying processes, but also includes the safe sourcing of fabric fibers up the supply chain.
Purnaa is Fair Trade guaranteed by the World Fair Trade Organisation (WFTO). The World Fair Trade Organization (WFTO) is a global network of fair traders - producers, marketers, exporters, importers, wholesalers and retailers - that demonstrate 100% commitment to Fair Trade and apply the 10 Principles of Fair Trade to their supply chains.