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Felicity Kendal to open Indian carpet exhibition

Added: (Thu Aug 09 2001)

Pressbox (Press Release) - Press release

Felicity Kendal is opening an exhibition of Indian hand made carpets made by a UK charity on the evening of Tuesday 14 August 2001 at the Nehru Centre, 8 South Audley Street, London. The carpets being shown range from inexpensive kelim rugs to very fine hand knotted carpets. The carpets are all made by Mala Handicrafts, a division of Project Mala, a UK registered charity, which specialises in helping the children of the carpet weaving belt in rural India.

This exhibition is the latest initiative by Project Mala to encourage people to buy Indian carpets, not boycott them. We at Project Mala are concerned by the numerous campaigns that have been invented to try and portray a better image for the industry. This has only resulted in confusion for the purchasers and increased hardship for the weaving families. Whilst no one can condone the use of children to make luxury goods for western consumption, child labour is not the problem - it is the lack of an alternative that needs to be addressed. Without proper functioning schools, children prevented from working on carpet looms only end up in other employment where conditions could be worse. The most effective way to help these poor children is to support charities like Project Mala, which actively provide an alternative to work rather than waste money on administrative costs.

When Project Mala was founded eleven years ago, one of the principles of the scheme was to provide a stipend for the children attending our schools so that the families were not disadvantaged by the loss of the child’s earnings whilst attending our schools. In the light of our experience, we have abolished this stipend, as it is now apparent that where good educational facilities exist, the parents of children in rural India will send their children to school without reward. In common with parents all over the world, the men and women in rural India are prepared to make a sacrifice to try and give their children a better start in life.

It is vital that children learn a skill at an early age to provide them with the means of earning a living. In Project Mala schools we recognise the need to learn a skill at an early age and provide vocational training as part of the curriculum so that the children leaving our schools are not only literate but also have a trade that they can use to support their families.


The exhibition is open each day from 14 to 18 August at the Nehru Centre, 8 South Audley Street, London W1

Felicity Kendal has been Patron of Project Mala for the last ten years. Felicity was born in India, spent her childhood there and has revisited India on many occasions.

Felicity was taught to act by her father at a very early age and at thirteen was on stage on a regular basis.

Project Mala is a registered charity. It was founded in 1989 and has been working to combat the abuse of children hand knotted carpet industry in rural India since then.

Mala Handicrafts is part of Project Mala. It was founded in 1998 to provide employment and training for past students of Project Mala.

The proceeds from the sale of the carpets go towards providing schools for weavers’ children.

Each carpet carries a Mala symbol discreetly woven into the pattern. This denotes that the carpet was made by Mala Handicrafts.

Contact numbers for Robin Garland

Tel : 01904-786880
Fax : 01904 786881
Mobile : 07831-444222
e-mail : info@projectmala.org

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