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After collaborating with People Tree on a new line of handmade, ethical clothing designed to appeal to UK’s youth market, actress Emma Watson took a trip to Bangladesh to see the fair trade in action.

“I always find it difficult to impress on people what handmade really means,” says Watson. “To make a simple garment they have to produce the yarn, hand-dye the yarn, get it onto the loom, then weave the fabric, cut it to the pattern, sew it into the garment and then embroider it – all by hand. It is so hard for people to imagine what it takes to create something and how special that item of clothing is.”

Shocked by the noise and traffic in Bangladesh, she was even more upset to see the squalid, overcrowded living conditions in the garment factory slums in Dhaka. Moving on to Swallows, a women’s project in Thanapara that is one of People Tree’s producers, she saw something different.

“The living conditions are modest,” says Watson, “but it’s clean and there is a real sense of community, their families are together and they seem to love and be proud of what they are doing – many things that we in the West take for granted. Not only do these women have jobs, but they’re earning the same amount as men – there is gender equality, they are empowered. They’re able to support and look after themselves, and live in dignity.”

“At Swallows we work to employ as many women as possible,” says Safia Minney, People Tree founder and CEO, “so that they can support their families and build a healthy community.”

“Swallows is special,” says Watson, “and I need to believe for my own peace of mind that there will be more places like this in the developing countries in the world.”

Watch a video of Emma’s visit here.

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