Mongolian Women Spin Wool for Change
In November 2019, thanks to the generous support of GreaterGood.org donors, Snow Leopard Trust helped 78 women spin wool. Participants from nine herder communities in southern Mongolia trained to make hand-spun camel knitting wool.
The training was part of a handicraft program called “Snow Leopard Enterprises” (SEP). It helps rural women in four snow leopard range countries (India, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia and Pakistan) use local livestock wool to make fine handicrafts for international and domestic sales. To access Snow Leopard Enterprises and earn extra income, communities agree not to harm snow leopards when they prey on livestock.
In southern Mongolia, local camel wool is a plentiful, renewable resource. It comes in natural colors from almost white to grays and browns. The Trust’s recent research found that hand-spun camel knitting wool is in high demand as an “exotic fiber” in the US craft/hand knitting community. SEP invited skilled trainers from Wool World Training Center (Ulaanbaatar) to hold seven training sessions in southern Mongolia. These allowed women to hone their wool processing and spinning skills to make fine quality hand-spun camel wool for export.
After successful training, the Trust placed its first wool order. The women have since made 450 skeins of 100-gram weight camel knitting wool. The Trust will test-market the wool and hopes to place larger orders for Mongolian women soon!