ARZU, which means “hope” in Dari, is an innovative model of social entrepreneurship that helps Afghan women weavers and their families break the cycle of poverty by providing them steady income and access to education, healthcare and sustainable community development.www.arzustudiohope.org
Every handmade rug has a story to tell, and the stories behind Arzu Studio Hope’s rugs are nothing short of remarkable. Proffering exquisite hand-knotted rugs as well as hope for women in Afghanistan, the not-for-profit organization lives up to its name.
Each rug is crafted on a loom in its weaver’s home or one of Arzu’s Women’s Community Centers in Afghanistan. Yarns are hand-spun from 100% sheep’s wool, and vibrant colors are achieved through the use of natural dye when possible. Depending on size, a rug might be on the loom between five and eight months. When complete, the weaver’s labor of love becomes a beloved heirloom for its owner.
Arzu’s traditional and tribal designs are stunning, many inspired by authentic antique patterns. The Hope rug is a modern reproduction of the Pazyryk rug, the oldest surviving piled rug. Transitional and modern rugs are also offered in a variety of designs and colors. While they offer an expansive range of in-stock pieces, Arzu also offers fully customizable options that allow clients to create their own design, color, shape, and size.
Equally attentive to their products and the quality of their weavers’ lives, Arzu Studio Hope prioritizes empowerment. That sentiment echoes across the organization, manifesting in the tiniest of details. A subtle “H” is woven in the corner of each rug made by Arzu as a symbolic bestowal of hope. Collections are given empowering, life-affirming names such as Confidence, Determination, Respect, Trust, and Unity. The organization is dedicated to promoting fair labor standards and offering opportunity to women where little opportunity exists. Net proceeds directly benefit families in the form of fair wages and social benefits. In addition to creating the Women’s Community Centers for their weavers, Arzu Studio Hope facilitates literacy and home ownership and provides access to clean water and health care.