UNAKO is an initiative of the registered charity Her International (formerly IWEN)
WHO IS HER INTERNATIONAL?
Her International is a non-profit organization registered in Canada and led by a volunteer Board of Directors. Since 2005, Her raises funds to help marginalized girls and women in rural Nepal become self-reliant through educational programs such as academic scholarships, literacy classes, mothers support life skills and micro-credit groups.
The story began with a trip to the world in 2000. At 53, Michelle Bonneau left with a backpack to explore the world and its cultures. Nepal was a long time on the road. Michelle, a teacher and counselor has been visited by Nepalese women who spoke to her heart. Back in Canada, life took its natural course until now. Five years later, she sold her condo on Lake Okanagan, left her job as director of a Family Counseling Center in Kelowna and moved to Kathmandu to volunteer full time.
THE UNAKO PROJECT
Since its inception, Her International used scarves as a source of financing. Initially, they were sourced from Kathmandu, but in 2012, Her bought the necessary equipment and trained a group of Tharu mothers to become the ones to manufacture and supply scarves under the name Unako which means “her” in Nepali. These Tharu whose meager income depended on the daily labor on a landlord ‘s farm now manage a small sewing workshop. Recently, Her trained four more women to create a line of jewellery from recycled glass bottles. Together, these twelve women now proudly call themselves “Unako Ladies” and have gained more than just financial independence and a new sense of self and a dignity.
Together, we create a sustainable future for these women, who now believe in themselves and have hope for their children’s lives. This is the power of buying Unako products. Wear them proudly because the impact is enormous.