|A Sense Of Humanity - No Child Labor|
A commitment to social justice was central to Tufenkian’s inception. This is evident in the company’s firm stand against child labor and is why Tufenkian ensures that schooling, shelter, and health care are available to its employees, their families, and their communities. Rather than providing handouts, their aid model is capitalistic, folded into their business model: motivating employees to create the best product possible enables quality to drive the market demand, which in turn enables Tufenkian to provide profit sharing, better work conditions, and a better environment for its employees.
Tufenkian has established a program for worker welfare in Nepal and Armenia that far exceeds international standards. Although those in charge of most facilities in Nepal consider someone 16 years of age to be an adult, Tufenkian does not hire anyone under the age of 18. In Nepal, Tufenkian provides food and comfortable housing for its workers, and has established both a medical complex and a Montessori school for employees' children. The company dedicates nearly $300,000 a year to improving and expanding employee facilities. In Armenia, activities include sustaining projects for all age groups from school and orphanage programs for young children to food and shelter programs for the elderly.
Each year, the Tufenkian Foundation contributes over $1 million to social justice programs in Nepal and Armenia that benefit the company's 9,000 employees and their families. Tufenkian's ongoing efforts have been recognized recently by leading publications including Metropolitan Home, Traditional Home, and Travel & Leisure. Tufenkian has been honored to also be recognized with a range of awards for its social justice work, including Travel & Leisure’s first Global Vision Award for Economic Development, which the company received in 2005 for -it’s work in Armenia.
In 1999, the company launched the Tufenkian Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to improving the quality of living in Armenia. The Tufenkian Foundation serves marginalized communities in Armenia by creating sustainable projects that enrich the beneficiaries both spiritually and practically. Foundation projects include employing the poor to make food and clothing for the elderly and handicapped; buying lambs from poor farmers to loan to refugees who volunteer to resettle abandoned villages; funding a radio station to play spiritual and classical music; and the reforestation of neighborhoods and countryside.
For more information, please visit the Foundation section of our website or log on to www.tufenkianfoundation.org.
The story of The Armenian Knitting Ladies is one example of a successful program that helped the poor and elderly in Armenia.
Armenian Knitting Ladies
The Armenian Knitting Ladies were organized by the Tufenkian Foundation in December of 2000. Tufenkian’s aim was to give Christmas employment, and desperately-needed income, to 30 skilled knitters who were among the poorest women in the newly independent country of Armenia. So, the company each woman dyed yarn and instructed her to knit a "bedcover" of a given size using colors and designs of her own choosing.
The results were astonishing. As we inspected the finished pieces, and took a moment to inquire into the lives of the knitters, Tufenkian’s staff found ourselves uplifted and inspired—both by the great skill, creativity, and heart the women had invested in each beautiful piece and by the positive and courageous spirit with which they approached the difficulties of each day. What started as a Christmas hand-up for just a few has evolved into life-changing, consistent employment for nearly 400 women.