Founder Padma Dhakhwa with daughter Namrata


Profile of CONTIGO´s partner Dhakhwa

Supply chain

Trading partner: Dhakhwa (Commercial name: Giftsland Enterprises), microenterprise
Function: Service Provider and coordinator for CONTIGO
Structure: Associated Producers
Tradeway: Direct import CONTIGO

Kathmandu nach Goettingen

Kathmandu to Göttingen (Source: Google Earth)


Recycling and lokta paper (made of the lokta plant „Daphne papyracea“)


District Patan in Kathmandu, Nepal – distance to Europe: 6,700km

Founded in 1976


  • 1972: „Giftsland Enterprises“ is founded by Padma Dhakhwa (born in 1945) as a trading company for different hand crafted products
  • 1990: Specialisation in traditional paper production (handmade)
  • Since 1998: Participation in international trade fairs, exports to Europe begin
  • 2005: Oldest son Prasanna becomes CEO until he decides to move to the U.S.A.
  • 2005: Cooperation with GIZ, former called GTZ (= German Agency for Development Cooperation)
  • 2006: Daughter Namrata becomes CEO of the company, cooperation with FWEAN (=Federation of Women Entrepreneur Associations in Nepal)
  • 2006: CONTIGO meets Dhakhwa, start of cooperation
  • 2010: Prasen, youngest son of family, studies business in New York, becomes part of the company and is responsible for quality management and supervision of workshops
  • 2013: Namrata and Prasen come to Germany and represent their company in CONTIGO fairtrade shops and worldshops (presentation tour)
  • 2014: Company moves to a new building with offices for administration, quality control, packaging, warehouses (for finished products and raw materials)
  • 2015: After the terrible earth quake in Nepal the company organises and coordinates supporting measures for the neighbourhood in Patan and the remoted villages of the producer groups
  • 2016: The amount of producer groups increase to 16, the number of employees rise to 230 artisans
  • 2019: In accordance with legal requirements, Dhakhwa has implemented the new pension insurance system
  • 2022: Giftsland Enterprises / Dhakhwa celebrate their 50th jubilee

Cooperation with CONTIGO since 2006


Structure of the business

Number of employees:

  • 1998: 45 employees (5 internal, 40 external in different producer groups)
  • 2006: 78 employees (8 internal, 70 external in different producer groups)
  • 2008: 100 employees (10 internal, 90 external in different producer groups)
  • 2010: 154 employees (20 internal, 134 external in different producer groups)
  • 2012: 158 employees (24 internal, 134 external in different producer groups)
  • 2016: 230 employees (30 internal, 200 external in different producer groups)
  • 2019: 300 employees (40 internal, 260 external in different producer groups)

Organisation of production:

Place of business:

  • Location: Lalitpur (Patan)
  • Working hours: 9 am – 5 pm
  • Full-time employees: 25 employees (paper), 15 (felt)
  • Central activities:
    • CEO and marketing: Namrata Dhakhwa
    • Head of production: Prasen Dhakhwa
    • Accounting: Rojesh Shakya
    • Quality control, packaging, warehousing (finished products and raw materials): Reshma, Sarita M., Sarita S., Sapana, Binisha, Radha, Padma Raj, Surendra, Hari Maiya, Nisha, Shanti, Sunita
    • Supervisors: Riju and Anju (also the secretary), were elected by employees, both also train new employees

The family company works with external producer groups in different villages and cities in the Kathmandu valley:

  • Cooperatives and (informal) groups
  • Consists of 90% women and 10% men
  • Groups have been formed by neighbours, friends, family members
  • Groups employ between 5 and 25 employees

External producer groups:

  • Paper production: two producer groups with 25 and 10 employees, in Kathmandu valley
  • Dyeing: three producer groups with 25, 20 and 10 employees
  • Screeen printing and batik: two workshops with each 10 employees
  • Processing / finishing of paper products (into note books, lamp shades, garlands, etc.): seven workshops with 25, 20, 20, 5, 5, 5 and 5 employees

Origin of the lokta fibre

  • Lokta bark comes from the districts of Ilam and Ramechhap in the north-east of Nepal, is harvested by cooperatives in the Himalaya area
  • Collectors cut bark in pieces and offer the raw material on the markets in Kathmandu


Workshop for paper production

  • Location: Khopasi
  • Owner and workshop leader: Mr. Purushsotum
  • Employees: 30 employees (25 women and 5 men)
  • Cooperation since 1998, works only with Dhakhwas
  • Owner trains his employees
  • Production of handmade paper sheets made of lokta fibres
  • Payment on daily rate

Workshop „Bhaktapur Paper Industry“

  • Location: Bhaktapur
  • Owner: Mr. Maheswave Barahi
  • Assistant: Bina Rajitkar
  • Working hours: 9 am – 5 pm
  • Employees: 25 full-time employees (23 women and 2 men), 4 part-time employees
  • Cooperation since 1998, works only with Dhakhwas
  • Dyeing of the lokta paper sheetsDhakhwa37
  • Payment: piece-rated basis

Workshop „Eco Craft“

  • Location: Bhaktapur
  • Founded in 1987
  • Dyeing of the lokta paper sheet
  • Special features: natural dyeing processes (workshop owner is biologist and developed a concept for plant-based dyeing process; colours from 10 plants are used and fixed with salt and alum)
  • Waste water treated with a special system using sand, gravel and coal
  • Cooperation with Dhakhwas since 2000
  • Employees: 20 employees
  • Working hours: 9 am – 5 pm
  • Payment on daily rate

Workshop „Suresh printing press“

  • Location: Ghabahal/PatanDhakhwa20
  • Owner: Rabindra Maharjan
  • Screen printing
  • Employees: 10 employees (6 women and 4 men)
  • Cooperation with Dhakhwas since 1998
  • Payment on daily rate

Workshop „Supriya Dhakhwa“

  • Location: Patan
  • Owner: Supriya Dhakhwa (niece of founder Padma Dhakwa)
  • Founded in 1996
  • Further processing of paper (cards, boxes, photo album)
  • Employees: 17 employees (16 women and 1 men)
  • Payment on daily rate



  • Home market (0,1%) – small local book shops sell samples
  • Exports (99,9%) to the U.S.A., Netherlands, Italy, Germany


  • To improve the general working conditions in paper production
  • To preserve traditional craftsmanship
  • To improve appreciation of and market opportunities for handmade paper

Special features

  • Regular donations to women’s group FWEAN (=Federation of Woman Entrepreneur Associations in Nepal)
  • Co-financing of charities that are important for Patan and its citizens such as schools, medical centre, youth centre, water filtration plant, publicly owned bank (see below)
  • 2011: award as “Best Exporter” (Nepalese calender 2068)
  • Longterm employees (10 years of seniority) receive a bonus

Why does CONTIGO work with Dhakhwa: CONTIGO loves the paper, but what is even more interesting, is the respect with which every worker is treated well by the company.

Fairtrade classification

FTA = Fairtrade Approved


Fairtrade aspects


Dhakhwa complies with the following Fairtrade Principles:

No child labour

No discrimination

No discrimination due to gender, disability, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation, political orientation, or infection with HIV

Fair wages

  • Official minimum wage (industrial sector): NPR 15,000/month (NPR = Nepalese Rupees), since 2021
  • At Dhakhwa
    • Fix wages of permanent employees depend on the area of responsibility, consist of basic wages and allowances
    • Leading, controlling: NPR 35,000/month
    • Accounting: NPR 18,000/month
    • Packaging, quality control: NPR 16,425 – 20,300/month
    • Additional income (home work): sewing of paper garlands on piece rate, in case of good order situation monthly income of NPR 10,000 is possible
  • Salary system:
    • Employees receive minimum wage when they start working
    • After 1 year: increase of salary
    • Various additional payments for holidays like Dashain and Tihar
  • Monthly bank transfer
  • Higher wages in case of overtime (100%)


Humane working conditions

Working hours:

  • 7 hours/day (Monday to Friday: 9 am – 5 pm or 6 pm depending on order situation)
  • 2 breaks
  • 6 days/week

Social benefits:

Directly employed staff receive:

  • Paid holidays (21 festival days)
  • Continued payment of wage in case of sickness or accident
  • New pension scheme since 2019: as per governmental rule Dhakhwa deducts NPR 1,500 of each staffs monthly salary and deposits the double amount to their accounts
  • Financial support of employees in emergencies or in case of financial difficulties
  • Interest-free loans for building/acquiring own house
  • Special annual activities:
    • picnic with all employees
    • Yearly meeting in a restaurant with all employees and the owners of he external producer groups

Educational opportunities:


  • Managers are trained externally in the following topics:
    • Product development
    • Design
    • Quality assurance
    • Waste disposal
    • Environmental protection
    • Driving license
    • PC skills
  • Dhakwa is a member of NEPLOKTA (Association for Lokta paper), which offers regular trainings for ist members
  • Managers pass on gained knowledge to other employees and train them on a regular basis
  • Thorough initial training for all new employees
  • Dhakhwa organises trainings for paper producers and processors

Engagement for public weal:

  • Co-financing of charities that are important for Patan and its citizens such as schools, medical centre, youth centre, water filtration plant, publicly owned bank
  • Co-financing of water filtration plant and medical centre means that all inhabitants of Patan have access to good medical care and doctors for just NPR 35


  • Payroll is available
  • Regular meetings
  • SAR (Self Assessment Report) was duly submitted to CONTIGO



  • Personal visits in Patan (2009, 2011, 2015, 2018)
  • Feedback interview during several visits in Germany


Country information

See Encyclopaedia Britannica: Nepal



Visiting Dhakwa in Patan, Kathmandu (2018)



Dhakwa receives an award for being the best exporter of crafts and paper in Lalitpur District (2013)

Lecture tour through Germany (2012)

Visiting Dhakwa in Patan, Kathmandu (2011)

Author: Janina Lange on 24. February 2022

Last articles