Five years ago during the holiday season, Dan Fraser encountered an unnamed good Samaritan at his very busy and much loved General Store, Dan & Witt’s. Dan was struck by the woman’s generosity and desire to help others by donating food to The Haven, our local food pantry, and it sparked a great idea. He realized this person’s act of kindness had planted the seed of generosity and caring that others - businesses and individuals - could nurture and build on. And that’s just what he did. Dan & Whit’s launched the 19 Days for the Haven where 1% of sales for the first 19 days of December go to support the Haven’s programs for those in need of food or shelter. The extensive and still growing list of business enterprises that have joined the One Percent movement (this was InnerAsia’s second year) is a testament to how commerce and community service can be empowered to thrive under one roof.
This is equally true on the other side of the world and I would like to talk a little about my own experience with fruitful and enduring partnerships in Tibet, where commercial and social responsibility also have intersected. For more than 30 years InnerAsia and our weaving center in Lhasa, Khawachen, have focused on our mission of cultural preservation and revitalizing Tibet’s rug weaving heritage. Frankly, the driving force in our work to weave beautiful rugs has been the opportunity it has provided to train and create livelihoods for under privileged and handicapped Tibetans living in very trying circumstances. Commercial incentive alone would not have sustained us.
In spite of restrictions and challenges in working conditions in Tibet, we persevered in our pursuit and the result has paid off. The standard of excellence our rugs have achieved, the reception from our customers from China, Japan and US, and the pride of our artisans is the highest form of reward for we could hope for. Sharing this modest achievement is our way of thanking our friends and customers in the Upper Valley community and beyond for your inspiration and support. We have been reassured once again, the heart of generosity has no national or political boundaries.