My recent travels carried me to Varanasi, India to attend the Varanasi Carpet Fair where I browsed through the offerings of handmade area rugs that had been produced by the many weaving houses of India over the past year or so, ready for export. There was a varied and beautiful selection of rugs that I was excited to pick and choose from and have shipped back home to Ellicott City, Maryland, to offer to my customers in 2016. Each piece was toiled over by practiced hands and focused eyes until stunning completion, a process that can take anywhere from eight months to one full year; my appreciation for handmade Oriental rugs is strengthened each time I have the privilege to visit these countries and meet the people who dedicate their lives to creating these works of art that we decorate our homes with.
At the carpet show, I happened to meet a rug merchant who's passionate about education for the next generations -- a sentiment that is also close to my own heart -- he has taken this passion and channeled it into a physical reality by opening a school and making knowledge available to the children of Varanasi and Bhadohi.
I was invited to visit the school and meet with the students and faculty. It was a great pleasure to witness the groups of eager young learners being taught by steadfast educators, and I left with feelings of admiration and inspiration.
With a constant interest in playing a role, however big or small, in helping to improve the standard and quality of life for the families of the weaving districts around the world, I made a donation to this school before departing and heading back home, money that could not have been spent in any better way.