An informal meeting in 2014 between designer Runa Klock and social entrepreneur Amar Bokhari was the basis for the restoration and continuation of the vision of creating safe workplaces for women and men and schooling for their children – a work begun over 30 years earlier. Because the story of Bokhari goes all the way back to the end of the 1980s when the idea to produce the traditional Norwegian fillerya in Pakistan was conceived on a beautiful winter’s day at Maihaugen in Lillehammer.
The Norwegian-Pakistani Yawar Bokhari, who lived in Lillehammer with his Norwegian wife Brit, went for a walk one day at the open-air museum Maihaugen – De Sandvigske Samlinger. There he was inspired by the traditional Norwegian fillerya and decided to establish a weaving mill in Sultan Town, a quiet village with around 10,000 inhabitants on the outskirts of the textile metropolis and millionaire city Faisalabad in Pakistan.
Throughout the 1990s, Bokhari built up a viable weaving mill in Sultan Town with hundreds of employees. The raw materials were still leftover rags from the local textile industry that would otherwise have been thrown away or burned.
In the mid-1990s, when the weaving business was well underway and the sale of rags was going well, the opportunity arose to help people, especially women, in the village who were living in very difficult conditions. As the company became more viable, it was decided that a school should be built for the employees’ children, and in 1996 the foundation stone was laid for the LAMS school, wall-to-wall with the weaving mill.
After Yawar Bokhari’s unexpected death in 2012, all activity at the weaving mill came to a halt. It wasn’t until two years later, in 2014, that his son Amar, together with Runa, decided to rebuild the weaving mill and develop a new portfolio of sustainable products.
Together with Kid Interiør, they developed an exciting portfolio of handmade products made from sustainable materials. The focus on sustainability in all its dimensions (social, economic and environmental/climate) has been central to all decisions and the development of the company, and is an integral part of the business model.
Today, the Bokhari weaving mill alone employs over 450 women and men in various roles. The school, which is still run largely with the support of Bokhari, employs over 50 teachers and has close to 1,000 students, most of them girls, and continues to offer quality education to girls and boys who would otherwise not go to school.
Watch the video about the story of Bokhari below.
And this is just the beginning…