Empowering Women In Tajikistan

$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

  • Jason Hinkley  
    • 30 $ 
    • 41 mos
  • Anonymous 
    • 100 $ 
    • 41 mos
  • Marcella Hettinger  
    • 150 $ 
    • 41 mos
  • Elizabeth Woll 
    • 30 $ 
    • 41 mos
  • Lory Newmyer  
    • 60 $ 
    • 41 mos
See all

Fundraising team (3)

Casey Ryder 
Raised 5,179 $ from 63 donations
Portland, ME
Liba Brent 
Team member
Raised 805 $ from 6 donations
Sogdiana Spinners 
Team member
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