Empowering Women In Tajikistan

$14,219 of $35,000 goal

Raised by 183 people in 2 months
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$35,000  by April 30th

Cashmere People Yarns is a women-led collective of hand spinners in Tajikistan and Afghanistan. Over 70 spinners in eight different villages spin and dye cashgora and cashmere yarns for export to the United States. Most people know about cashmere, but haven't heard of cashgora, which is not a fiber blend, but a unique goat breed. It's a cross between Russian cashmere-type goats and local Tajik goats. The resulting yarn has the softness of cashmere as well as strength and luster.

The spinning groups were established with the help of two development grants funded by IFAD and managed by ICARDA  and AKF. The projects assisted the groups with workshops and equipment, supported them in developing their business and helped establish relationships with fiber producers and buyers. To learn more, please watch our short documentary about the groups. The funding was completed in spring 2017 with the yarns being distributed in the US by Casey Ryder, the owner of PortFiber in Portland, ME.

For most of the women, this is the first time they are earning money. In a country where around 40% of GDP comes from remittances sent by husbands working in Russia, this extra income makes a considerable difference in their lives. The women have used their earnings to purchase food and clothing, help fund their children's education and improve their homes. To learn more about the women, you can read their biographies.

This is the first women-led, export-oriented business in their country. They would like to grow their business to include additional spinners. To do that, they need to buy more fiber than last year and purchase additional spinning machines. Your donation will go towards purchasing and dehairing over one ton of combed cashgora from farmers in the Pamir Mountains.

The time for them to purchase fiber is at the end of April.

Casey plans to focus on promoting the yarn and expanding sales. In this first year of distributing the yarn in the United States, we've learned that it takes time to establish a new product line. Casey attended her first wholesale trade show last summer and will be attending the same trade show this June with new colors, yarn kits, and product samples to promote the yarn to stores across the country. Your support will not only buy fiber for the women to spin more yarn, but will also buy time to continue to establish this amazing product in the US yarn market.

These spinners live in some of the most isolated, traditional communities in the world. They are confronting poverty as well as the constraints of traditional, patriarchal culture. Yet they are eager to succeed in making a competitive product and run a business based on transparency and fairness. Your donation is an investment in their new business that empowers them with income, gives them the opportunity to work together, and enables them to become integrated into the global community of business women and fiber artisans. Please help them and watch their business grow!

Any amount you can donate is greatly appreciated!  

Other Ways You Can Help:
- Share our page on social media and with folks you think would like to support this effort.
- Are you an artist, maker, or business owner who would like to donate prizes to this campaign? Contact Casey .
- Purchase Cashmere People Yarns from these stockists  and at portfiber.com.
- Are you a shop owner?  Become a retailer.
- Do you want your LYS to carry these yarns?  Spread the word!

On behalf of the women of Cashmere People Yarns, thank you for your support!

Special Thanks to our reward donors:

Cat Bates
Kila Bates
Ray Cooper
Beatrice Perron Dahlen
Dead Gowns
Katherine Ferrier
Whitney Hayward
Bristol Ivy
Amy King - Spunky Eclectic
Madder - Carrie Bostick Hoge
Making Magazine
Daphne Pulsifer
Spincycle Yarns
Tandem Coffee

Taproot Magazine

For pictures of the rewards, check them out HERE

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Thank you from Narzinisso Mirzoeva, Shaydon village, northern Tajikistan
I am mother of two sons. My husband didn’t care about us and I have to work a lot to bring up my sons. Before I worked in canteen and the sum I got didn’t satisfied me. Now I spin yarn in our workshop and I like it very much. Mostly I like our extraordinary system of payment. As much you will spin as much money you will get. I won’t do any expenses for my job, we have all in our workshop supplied by project. We talk on Skype with buyers. We had opportunity to meet with our distributor- Casey.
One of my sons is ill. He has problem in his eyes. Time by time we go to doctor. I have to work a lot to earn money to his treatment. Thank you to Liba and Casey without them we could do nothing. Thank you to all American people who buy our yarn. We are happy if you like yarn we do. Thank you for being Donor of our fund. With deep respect from Tajik women.
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Thank you from Sanobar Karimova, Oshoba village, northern Tajikistan
Good Morning Dear Liba. I am very happy that you are still with us help in our business. I myself can’t speak Russian or English and can’t to talk to you. That’s why I am trying to give education all my children-I have 5. I want that they know languages and computer. My elder daughter is medical nurse and the next two are students. All my money I spent for my children’s education. I wish all of them being educated and speaking in two or three foreign languages.
I want to thank every Donor contributing. Thank you kindhearted people. I will never forgot your kindness.
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Thank you from Jamila Tursunova, Marhamat village, northern Tajikistan.
I have spinning yarn for 8 years. I like working in a women collective. Sharing opinions in different themes and being out of house.
I have five children: Three daughter and two sons. My elder daughter studies at the University. Most of my salary I spent to her. I am very happy that I could give education to my daughter. Three years ago I gave birth to twins, but one of them dyed. Now I spin less because of my child. But I won’t stop it as soon as my daughter will grow up I will spin more and more. I like and respect Liba. I am glad Casey is helping us sell yarn.
Thank you to all the kind people who donate and give us opportunity of earning more money!
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Thank you from Salohiddinova Gulchehra, Shaydon village, northern Tajikistan
I am Salokhiddinova Gulchehra. I like spinning, because before I worked in kindergarten and I tired from noise and children. There I got 35$ for a month. Now I spin yarn with great pleasure. Here spinning one kg of yarn I get 50$. Usually I spin 1,5 or 2 kg of yarn and get around 90 or more dollar for a month. It is very good income for Tajik women. Sometimes I come to our workshop out of mood. But in workshop I forgot my problems a little. Here I have a rest from home problems. Mostly I use my money for medical treatment. I am ill.I have blood pressure and herniated disk. My last salary I used for my grandchildren. I bought them presents. I have seven grandchildren.
I can’t visit other countries, but the yarn I spin is selling in US.I am so happy if you like our yarn and enjoy hearing that. Thank you all for your kindness and help you do for us.
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$14,219 of $35,000 goal

Raised by 183 people in 2 months
No Longer Accepting Donations
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Knitter Love
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Donate this amount and receive a Whitney Hayward original pattern download. [Ten Bristol Ivy pattern downloads previously claimed.]
Folk & Kin
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FOR PORTLAND LOCALS: Donate this amount and receive free admission (+two free drinks) to the Folk & Kin show at PortFiber on April 21st - music + art = oh ya!
Tell Me A Story
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You Move Me
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Donate this amount and Casey will dedicate a one minute dance to you on Instagram. You can even request the song!
Maine Knits
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Donate this amount and receive a signed copy of Maine Knits by Beatrice Perron Dahlen.
Sew Lovely
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Donate this amount and receive a hand-stitched, improvised patchwork poem by Katherine Ferrier. Please see photo gallery for pieces that are available.
Outside the Box
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Donate this amount and receive a signed copy of Bristol Ivy's book Knitting Outside the Box.
Anthology 1 & 2
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Donate this amount and receive signed copies of Madder Anthologies 1 & 2 - 37 patterns by Carrie Bostick Hoge.
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Donate this amount and receive the SOLD OUT Year 6 issues of Taproot Magazine - Issues 21-24 - Weave, Grow, Trade, & Rest.
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Donate this amount and receive signed copies of Uniform & Uniform Little - the latest from Madder. A choose your own adventure cardigan and tunic to knit + sew
Of One Accord
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Donate this amount and receive a limited edition sister clasp necklace by Cat Bates in collaboration with PortFiber. Brass clasps with avocado pit dyed cord.
Yarn Snob
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Donate this amount and receive the Issa Cowl Kit from Spincycle Yarns in the Meloncholia & Grumpy Birds colorways.
Sip & Knit
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Donate this amount and receive a handmade mug by Kila Bates, a 50g skein of DK weight cashgora in the colorway Toile, and a bag of Tandem Coffee.
Maker - Reader
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Donate this amount and receive the first 5 issues of Making Magazine - Flora, Fauna, Dots, Lines, and Color.
That's A Wrap
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Donate this amount and receive a 2-skein, handwoven cashgora fibonacci scarf in the colors of your choice, woven by Casey.
Twill Be Great
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Donate this amount and receive a handwoven cashgora scarf by PortFiber weaving instructor Ray Cooper. The scarf will feature a twill pattern + twisted fringe.
Not Kidding
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Donate this amount and receive a lost wax cast, bronze sculpture by Daphne Pulsifer. "Goat On A Rock" is 3.5" tall and is one of three artist proofs.
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