Laura, the founder of Khushi Kantha, helps destitute mothers earn a living to live a dignified life

"My name is Laura Rana.

Image: Laura Rana
Image: Laura Rana

I gave birth to my half-British, half-Bangladeshi twin daughters Opi and Mahi in July 2019. I spent the first half of my pregnancy in the coastal town of Cox’s Bazar in South-Eastern Bangladesh. Once best-known for having the longest unbroken stretch of beach in the world, it is now infamous for other reasons.

Despite being one of the poorest parts of a very poor country, the people of Cox's Bazaar welcomed nearly 1 million Rohingya men, women, and children who have fled across the border from Myanmar to escape human rights atrocities. With child malnutrition rates similar among the refugees and the local people, I witnessed destitute mothers from the areas surrounding the camps begging for some food. I wanted to do something to help the mothers who were experiencing such situations, but I was unsure of how to go about it effectively. When my girls were born, our loved ones gifted me and the girls a large number of traditional ‘Kantha’ blankets. I was overwhelmed with the love and wondered what we were going to do with so many blankets. However, I soon realised their numerous uses: from swaddling the girls as tiny newborns to functioning as pram liners, sun shades, mini playmats, or even makeshift changing mats while out and about. I soon realised there could be a market for them, and this was exactly how I could create opportunities for mothers in the local communities. This is how 'Khushi Kantha’ was born!

The blankets are sold and are bid for during auctions. The first, limited-edition collection of blankets is being sold through an online auction - all funds raised will be used to set up full-scale production in Bangladesh as soon as it is safe to do so. I’ve been mesmerized by the cultural heritage of Bangladesh ever since I set foot in the country. I want to empower struggling mothers to draw on this heritage to earn sustainable incomes, by using their existing embroidery skills to create products that are marketable in high-income countries such as the UK."

You Humanity pays respect and gratitude to Laura Rana for going above and beyond to contribute towards Humanity.

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