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Hari with his employees

Hari this past spring with his wife and Denise
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November 2010
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Hari's Felted Wool-A reflection

It is with the greatest sadness that we at Ganesh Himal send word of the sudden passing of a dear friend of ours and a true friend in Fair Trade, Hari Basnet.

We have known Hari for over 23 years. Hari was originally from the village of Gorkha in Central Nepal and he came to Kathmandu where he found a job at the Association for Craft Producers in 1988.  He started as a store employee and worked his way up through their marketing department, their production department and became a part of their senior management committee and their production coordinator.  Hari's goal was always to advance the status of women in Nepal and he worked amazingly well with all of the staff at ACP to accomplish this goal.

 In 2002 Hari, with the best wishes of ACP, decided to start his own independent fair trade business. He started with 5 women, a workshop in his home and a small store in the tourist section of Kathmandu. To help him establish his business ACP gave him orders and helped to give training to the women working with him. He in turn sold ACP's goods in his shop. Because we at Ganesh Himal had worked for so many years alongside Hari at ACP and understood his strong commitment to enhancing the status of women in Nepal we also wanted to help him to establish his business. In 2005 we met with Hari, gave him an advance and worked closely with him to develop products that would compliment the products we got from ACP.

Today Hari employs 15 women with steady work and a fair wage. In the winter of 2010 we worked together to create a social benefit package for this group where Ganesh Himal provides 7Rs for each item produced and Hari matches that with 3 Rs. Thus for every felted potholder or felt item the producers made, 10 Rs was set aside for their social benefit package. This fund has developed into a pool of money that the women are determining how to use. We have discussed ideas such as creating their own micro loan fund or providing school scholarships. Hari was so enthusiastic about this program and it has been a huge inspiration to us all.

Most of you will know Hari through the amazing products that he helped Ganesh Himal design and produce. The beautiful and whimsical felted potholders and oven mitts, the fun eyeglass holders and coin purses, the lovely felted baskets and bags....the list goes on. Hari was always so eager to have orders for the women who work with him and if my orders were late in coming he'd email me two or three times a week to make sure everything was ok. Just last week we were working on some amazing new products and his enthusiasm was unbounded.  I will miss that.
Hari's wife and son want to carry on Hari's work and we are grateful for that .

We at Ganesh Himal will work closely beside them to carry out Hari's dream of women's empowerment, but, we will miss him immensely.  God Speed Hari.