Well, we are back at work in Nepal and taking all the covid-19 safety measures that we can. Temperature taking, sterilising the workplace, hand sanitiser, washing – in fact just about the lot!
This is reported to be the 1938 Mercedes-Benz that Adolf Hitler gave to King Truibhuvan of Nepal in 1940. The only modern roads in the country at the time were in the capital, so cars had to carried over the mountains from India along rocky, hilly roads to Kathmandu and this car was the first one in the city.
However, there is controversy about what the car was, to whom it was given and indeed where it actually is now. Janak Rajya Laxmi Devi Shah, the daughter of Judha Shumsher Jung Bahadur Rana, Nepal’s seventh hereditary Prime Minister claims that the car was not given to the King; it was given to her father who held the real power in the country and that it was actually a 1936 Daimler-Benz. It was one of only two ever made, Hitler having the other one. It was presumably given to him by Hitler to try to prevent the Gurkhas being sent into WW2 to fight for the allies. When the Prime Minister abdicated in favour of his nephew in 1945, he went to live in northern India and took the car with him.
Well, some people in Nepal are back at work. 42 companies and offices are now allowed to open and we are one of them! We are allowed to have some of our people back in the workshops and office but we have to provide food and lodging for them there. Everybody must stay 1m apart and we have to keep the whole area sanitised. So there was a small ‘relief programme’ at the workshops, a lot of the staff there came back to work and we gave out essential supplies of rice and lentils.
Meet our wonderful Sarmila Bhele. Sarmila keeps us all straight at our new workshops in the ancient city of Bhaktapur. Bhaktapur is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is about 8 miles east of Kathmandu in Nepal. Sarmila is the leader of a group of about 25 knitters who live in the area and work from home and our new workshops.
Sarmila is 31 years old and is married to Rameshowar and they have an 11 year old son called Aayan. Rameshowar is the owner operator of his own bus in and around Kathmandu. Black Yak pays for Aayan’s schooling in a local school.
We could not operate our new workshop without Sarmila. She goes through the orders that we send over and distributes them, with wool and knitting instructions, to our knitters. She then performs magic and collects all the knitting back in and somehow manages to get it all back to our main unit for sorting, checking and finishing.
Meet the people behind the brand who help produce Black Yak……so they can also ‘Be an Individual’. In one of the first of our people stories we would like to introduce you to Rupa!
Rupa is head of the finishing department, which is a very demanding and important role. She has worked with us for more than 8 years and intends to spend the rest of her working life with Black Yak. Before she worked with us Rupa did not have regular work, doing ‘piece work’ knitting.