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How the heck did this all happen?!
Well, we’re glad you asked because that’s what we sometimes wonder too!
Many moons ago, Vanessa and Mike, our founders, signed up for a trip to volunteer in orphanages in north India. It was a life-changing experience, to say the least. “I met the man who would become my husband and a community that would become my family,” Vanessa says.
Since 2015 Mike and Vanessa have resided in India, in a tiny Himalayan village, with only one road and a cow that lives downstairs. (Her name is Jalebi, and she loves to eat mango peels.) It is one of the great joys of their lives to work in the orphanages that Fazl supports. “We started Fazl because we fell in love with the orphanages. And best of all––I get to do it all with the love of my life,” Mike says.
In the beginning, Mike had long harboured a dream of setting up a social enterprise to help create sustainability for the orphanages. While in the bazaar one day, Vanessa held up a pair of the handmade, local socks and asked, “What if we could not only support the children but the women who make the products too?”
Badda Bing! Badda Boom!
Mike whipped up a business plan and six months after they moved to India with the help of their partners, they started the first samples of Fazl. They crammed 400 socks into vacuum-sealed bags, stuffed their suitcases and flew back to Canada. And . . . The socks were a hit! Since then, Fazl has expanded into different regions of India and started new product lines. But Fazl has never been about socks or bags or products. It was started for the children and women they love and work alongside.
Ultimately, “Fazl is the family business,” Mike says. “For our partners and us, that’s what this is all about.” Who are our partners? The founder of one of the orphanages, along with two of the graduates raised in the home. On the Canadian side, our brother-in-law is hard at work too. For us, it is never just business. It’s always personal.
Real women knit the socks. Authentic children’s lives are touched. It all happens when you support Fazl.
Every time you purchase Fazl, you are helping to provide orphaned and destitute children in India with food, shelter, education, and clothing. What’s more, we give fair wages to artisans in need who handmake every Fazl item.
We are committed to supporting orphanages in India that care for vulnerable children, and we dedicate 50% of our net profits to this cause. Our company grew out of a deep love for these homes and the sacred work they do. We also provide dignified work opportunities for women in need. Bonus! Our products are fabulous! What’s not to love? So join the movement and Wear the change you want to see in the world.
We believe in empowering all people to live according to their own local standards of wellbeing, happiness, and dignity. We strive to provide sustainable solutions to poverty and believe every act of consumerism counts.
Handmade. Himalayan. Happy Ladies. The three H’s of Fazl. Our knitwear line is all handcrafted by women in our community, and we provide them with fair wages for their work. Through collaborating with graduates from the children’s homes, we were introduced to many women who were financially struggling and possess the incredible skills necessary to create our products. A beautiful partnership was forged, and we are thrilled to be working alongside them.
Fazl has expanded beyond knitwear, and we are now privileged to work with artisans from all over India. They are entirely still happy, and everything is still handmade.
P.S. there are now two Fazl men. Whoohoo!
Our knitwear and handloom collections are made from designs indigenous to the Himalayan people and Mizo people, respectively. We love supporting beautiful traditions. It’s so amazing to us that our Himalayan artisans pass their designs from mother to daughter.
Our Tote Bags are made from Upcycled Tire Tubes and the sewn with hand-stamped fabric. Yes, that things of beauty were once a tire on the side of the road. But with a little creativity and a lot of love, it looks like a leather bag.
India is a swirl of colour, a teaming mass of superabundant life. It is a country with gorgeous people, dramatic landscapes, and complex cultures. There is a vitality and intensity to life in India that is nothing less than intoxicating. Yet, within the magnificent beauty, there is also enormous poverty and suffering.
The number of orphans is nearly the entire population of Canada. In 2010, a third of the globe’s exceptionally poor (those surviving on less than a $1.25/day) lived in India. Furthermore, India is home to more than one-third of all underweight children and 25% of the planet’s hungry people. We are seeking to respond to this crisis.
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