Wandsworth volunteers have stepped up to help a woman launch a Bangladeshi blanket business, which was founded to support “a global network of mothers”.

Khushi Kantha, meaning ‘Happy Blanket’ in Bengali, is a social enterprise designed to create opportunities for women and children in Cox's Bazar, the world’s largest refugee settlement.

Selling blankets stitched from reclaimed saris, founder Laura Rana hopes to improve the lives of families in Bangladesh.

“The idea was inspired by the birth of my half-British, half-Bangladeshi (and 100% cheeky!) twin daughters, and my first-hand experience of working in the Rohingya refugee camps through my career in humanitarian aid,” she said.

Wandsworth Times:

Laura was due to travel to Bangladesh earlier this year, to introduce her daughters to their Bangladeshi family members and set up production.

However, her dream took a turn as the reality of COVID-19 set in.

Laura could not afford to launch to produce the first batch of blankets in the UK, so she turned to her local community for help.

Teaming up with some of the leading members of the South London Scrubbers - a group of volunteers making scrubs for NHS frontline staff – she found people willing to invest the 20 hours needed to stitch one blanket.

Wandsworth Times:

Laura began to see her vision of a “global community” of mothers, who could work “to build better futures for the next generation” play out.

Later this month, Laura will be launching her collection of baby ‘kantha’ blankets via an online auction, in time for World Children’s Day (November 20).

The revenue raised from the auction will be used to set up full-scale production in Bangladesh once coronavirus concerns lessen.

Volunteer stitcher, Gill Howe, said:

“When I saw what the people of Bangladesh were doing for the refugees of Myanmar, I was very touched. When you have so little yourself but are prepared to share that with someone who has nothing, that is a truly inspirational quality.

In comparison, I have so much, and I wanted to give something. And I loved the idea of women sewing a gift to pass down to their children.”

You can find out more about Khushi Kantha here or on their Facebook/Instagram page: @KhushiKantha