London - The Burberry Foundation, the independent charity founded by Burberry in 2008, has teamed up with charity Oxfam and PUR Projet to launch a new programme supporting rural cashmere producing communities in Afghanistan. Together the organizations will launch a five-year programme, the first of its kind in the country, which aims to empower local communities by creating a more inclusive and sustainable cashmere industry.
“We are very proud to build this programme with Oxfam and PUR Projet in Afghanistan to support and improve the livelihoods of thousands of people across the country,” commented Leanne Wood, a trustee of the Burberry Foundation and Chief People, Strategy and Corporate Affairs Officer at Burberry in a statement. “There is enormous potential for the Afghan cashmere industry and we believe our programme will deliver resources that will go some way to making it a profitable and sustainable industry for local communities.”
Burberry Foundation supports cashmere production in Afghanistan
The programme will offer cashmere goat herders the training and tools needed to enhance their livelihoods and help lift them out of poverty. Afghanistan is the third largest global producer of cashmere, after Mongolia and China respectively, exporting approximately 1000 tons of cashmere per year, equal to 7 percent of the total global production. As the majority of Afghanistan population lives in rural areas and is fully depended upon agriculture and livestock for their livelihood, the programme aims to work with local herders to create community-owned cooperatives and provide them with the needed knowledge, technical skills, essential services and access to markets to support sustainable farming and economic development.
“Oxfam is very excited to launch this programme with the support of the Burberry Foundation to expand our work on sustainable livelihoods in Afghanistan,” continued Sachitra Chitrakar, the Interim Country Director for Oxfam in Afghanistan. “With extreme poverty on the rise, it is important to continue our commitment supporting local communities in the fight against poverty.”
Pierric Jammes, the Co-Founder and Managing Director of PUR Projet, added: “PUR Projet is very excited for the opportunity to work with the Burberry Foundation and Oxfam on this fantastic initiative in Afghanistan. It is through such partnerships that innovative solutions can be found to drive true change and support local communities in their endeavours to bring themselves out of poverty and manage their natural resources sustainably. We strongly believe that this will be a demonstration of the true potential of businesses to engage in positive change and support our global community.”
The new programme also aims to support the promotion of gender equality by ensuring women are an integral part of the design and management of cooperatives and offering women leadership training. The new programme aligns with Burberry Group’s responsibility agenda to support one million people in the communities that sustain the wider luxury industry over the next five years, thereby helping build a more sustainable future.
Photo: Couresty of Burberry