Adopting Ghana

Archive for December, 2009|Monthly archive page

No blood for cashmere or diamonds

In Essays on December 15, 2009 at 10:48 pm

The High Price of Cashmere – TRCB

Women working in factories cleaning goats’ wool for the production of cashmere say their health is suffering and they are poorly paid.

They labour in factories all across the western Afghan province of Herat to process the wool in an early stage of what goes on to become one of the world’s most expensive cloths.

Sima, 12, would rather be studying but she extracts goat fuzz – the fine undercoat hair needed for cashmere – from the shorn wool from 7 am until 4 pm for about 140 afghani (2.90 US dollars) a day.

“My parents are dead and my brother has gone to Iran to work. I am the only breadwinner for my four siblings now,” she said. The family live in a ruin that they do not own and Sima suffers abdominal pains and asthma, but she cannot afford to go to the doctor.

I was in Manhattan last week and happened to stroll along 5th Avenue during the high holy days of rabid consumerism known as “two weeks before Christmas“. I walked into a clothing store.  I can’t remember the name, but I’m sure my admission of that qualifies me as the flyover-state hick I’m proud to be. The store was lined wall-to-wall with…you guessed it…cashmere. And leather. And other textiles whose names and origins I probably will never know.  No prices on the items were to be found. If you have to ask, you’re too poor, so get your uncultured hiney out of here. Read the rest of this entry »