Since 2014, Armadillo & Co has fully funded the Kantilal Vidya Mandir school (KVM) in India’s Carpet Belt region covering staff salaries, school uniforms, and maintenance among other costs. Three years later, the Armadillo & Co Foundation was born. “We wanted to make the very best we could out of supporting the school, and as a result of that we decided to go on and create the foundation, which really formalised what we were doing and gave us the vehicle to give back,” Sally explains. The charity is funded by proceeds from each product sold and online donations, which helps to educate many of the weavers’ children. “We have 250 kids at the school, it's in an area where a lot of our weaving is done,” Sally adds. The foundation also sponsors a local medical clinic which provides students, their families and local village residents with free medical care as well as free biannual eye checks for KVM students – supplying free glasses when they’re needed.
"Just seeing that transition from the children being quite nervous and shy, to really embracing us with open arms, that's honestly the highlight for us."Sally Pottharst
The entire A&Co range is made by hand in India, and it’s estimated that up to 3000 hands come in to contact with a single rug from start to finish. “We have weavers, we have finishers, there are dyers – not all of our rugs are dyed but those that are, that's a skill in itself,” says Sally. “We work with different groups of manufacturers, so we don't have a central factory. Our manufacturers then contract out the weaving work and then our weavers typically go and weave in their homes on farms or in villages for extra income,” she explains.
With so many people along India’s Carpet Belt region involved in the process, giving back to the surrounding communities was high on Sally and Jodie’s priority list. “It’s something that we both live by… we are all humans on this planet, so let’s be kind to each other. That’s really the hallmark, it’s in our bones,” says Sally.
So, are you in the market for a new rug? You might want to start here...
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