Alain first visited Nepal in 1979, when he took a year out to travel in south east Asia. He took time to meet the people and became emotionally and culturally involved with them. He met up with very skilled craftsmen in rug and carpet making and encouraged them to develop their skills using traditional methods. Instead of catering for the tourist market, he helped to set up workshops where good quality, natural products could be produced.
This has involved using natural dyes gathered from plant material in the local countryside and hand spinning good quality yarn. This process, of course, makes every product unique. His workshop also provides a kindergarten for the children of workers so that families can stay together and he does not allow any child labour. Alain returned to the UK to set up a gallery in the Cotswolds, to sell the rugs and carpets as well as other artisan products.
He brought examples of the work that the craftspeople produce, including brightly coloured scarves and hats.
Over the years Alain has worked tirelessly to improve the lives of Tibetan refugees, by encouraging basic social work in rural communities and sponsoring children through education. He has also set up the Alain Rouveure Nepal Fund to provide health and education to vulnerable children. He travels to Nepal twice a year to oversee his projects.
Many thanks Alain, for a fascinating talk and a insight into your inspirational connection with Tibetan refugees, whose lives have been improved through your passion and support.
As usual, before Alain's talk, we had notices and members were then invited to 'show and tell'. As you can see from the picture below, we have produced a wide variety of embroidery and everyone's work was greatly admired.