WASHINGTON, D.C.–Los Angeles-based Ariana Rugs has become the first importer of Afghanistan rugs to earn GoodWeave’s certification as having a child labor-free supply chain.
“Carpet weaving is Afghanistan’s largest legal industry, and GoodWeave hopes to help revitalize the industry in a fair and ethical way,” said Nina Smith, executive director of GoodWeave USA, a nonprofit organization working to eliminate child labor in the handmade rug industry. “We’re delighted to be working with Ariana Rugs. Their rugs are among the finest in the world and the Ahmadi family is a partner through and through, deeply committed to improving conditions for Afghan weaving communities, and especially for the children who are most vulnerable.”
Ariana Rugs’ owners and siblings Ahmad, Alex and Nadia Ahmadi, were born and raised in Afghanistan and their company is part of the revitalization of the handmade carpet industry in their homeland, GoodWeave said.
“Afghanistan was synonymous with rugs, and it’s a beautiful craft and artwork that has been handed to us,” says Ahmad Ahmadi. “We are responsible for taking that heritage to the next generation. We need to remove child labor from this art form. All Afghans are proud that their country creates rugs, and we want to bring peace of mind to the end users.”
The first GoodWeave-certified Ariana rugs available for sale in North American and European markets will include the Hazara and Barchi collections, as well as kilims and fine Persian designs.
In Afghanistan, GoodWeave social programs include day care, early childhood education and primary and secondary educational support for children of weavers, as well as vision care for adult weavers. Since 1994, 8 million child-labor-free carpets bearing the GoodWeave label have been sold worldwide, and the number of “carpet kids” has dropped from 1 million to 250,000. GoodWeave USA now licenses 95 North American rug importers, and each GoodWeave rug carries a label with a number that can be traced through the supply chain, certifying that the rug was made child-labor-free.