For many who know me personally or have been following my journey, know that ‘Maya’ (meaning love in Nepali) is a big part of my life; the reason I found myself in love with and in Nepal.
In 2013 I stumbled across Maya Universe Academy during my travels in Nepal, where I am now part of the family. Maya Universe is a social entrepreneurship project in Nepal, providing quality education in rural Nepal where access to quality education is poor. Parents of students enrolled can pay for their children’s education by providing two days of work in the school. Our parent volunteers work in agriculture, construction and daily maintenance.Follow
Maya Universe Academy now educates over 500 students in 2 districts of Nepal from Kindergarten to grade 8 and supports their further education by providing scholarships in schools and colleges in nearby cities and suitable accommodation. The schools are primarily funded through volunteer programs and social enterprise.
Maya Sapana is a new social enterprise, trading the most valuable handicrafts from Nepal worldwide as a branch of Maya Universe Academy. Maya Sapana Atelier Founder Shin Chul Yoon says, “Maya Universe Academy helps underprivileged children in Nepal reach for dreams by offering free education to them. We share the same dream; the world where all children can shine their own dreams. We deliver not only fine items, but also invaluable dreams.”
Maya Sapana Atelier aims to become a platform for high-quality artisanal products from Nepal that have a strong impact on the community. The product portfolio will include high-quality Pashmina, natural textiles’ bags and accessories.
Pashmina is a combination of the words ‘Pashm’ meaning ‘wool’, and ‘Mina’ referring to ‘jewel’, in Sanskrit. Pashmina has widely recognised as the most valuable item and has been loved through centuries for its beauty.
Chyangra or Pashmina goat is a breed of goat inhabiting Himalayan Mountains. More than 3000m above the sea level, the weather is extremely harsh, sometimes the temperatures drop to -50°C. The goat has adapted to the cold, severe environment thanks to its dual structure of the hair. The inner hair, called as ‘Duvet’, is famous for its exceptional finess, measuring between 12-14 microns in thickness, which is 1/6 of human hair (75 micron). It is very fine, soft, and warm. Also, it is very scarce, as each goat can produce hair only about 150g per year.
All pashmina making processes need the ‘hand’, as the fibre is highly sensitive. Right after winter, hair is harvested by gathering fallen hair and hand-combing for ethical and traditional reasons. Master artisans of Nepal and India deal with all the steps; spinning, weaving, and dyeing. Skills handed over from generation to generation give life to pashmina. Only with delicate touches of them, Pashmina can reveal its true value.
Transparency and Traceability
It is difficult to find 100% Pashimina even in Nepal or India. Moreover, the quality depends heavily on the region where it is produced.
“Our Pashmina is certified by NPIA (Nepal Pashmina Industry Association) guaranteeing 100% pure Pashmina in EU, US, Canada and 40 other countries,” says Yoon.
One can check the 5-digit serial number in the inner tag for Chiangra Pashimina mark. By checking it on the official website, you can track to see if your pashmina is authentic.
Only the highest quality Pashmina can be certified with the Chyangra Mark of NPIA. There are tough requirements to meet. This high-quality check also ensures an eco-friendly and ethical work environment without child labour.
Other ways you can support Maya Universe Academy:
1. Sponsor a Child
2. Volunteer at the school by teaching your skills, conducting workshops, agriculture, construction.
3. Organise a tailor-made cultural trip to Nepal and experience Nepalese rural lifestyle in our villages.
For all of the above – contact Maya Universe Academy