10 December 2012, Dhaka. This year Aarong has been awarded the prestigious 2012 UNESCO Award of Excellence for Handicrafts in South-East Asia and Asia for Jamdani stole, silk Nakshi Kantha table runner and bridal jewellery box. These products were selected by UNESCO out of 189 nominations received from ten countries. The products were judged on excellence, authenticity, innovation and marketability with pre-conditions of respect for environment and social responsibility.
The UNESCO panel of expert praised Nakshi Kantha table runner for its “Fine execution of the traditional Nakshi Kantha embroidery on the piece with contemporary selection of colours and design, bringing traditional folk art into modern households” and bridal jewellery box for its “Very fine execution of the traditional Nakshi Kantha embroidery, enhanced by the bright red colour with perfect finishing and its multiple compartments that make it fully functional.”
In 2006, Aarong was granted UNESCO Award of Excellence for Handicrafts in South-East Asia and Asia for Terracotta fruit bowl. The earthen bowls, Nakshi Kantha table runner and bridal jewellery box are available in all Aarong outlets.
Owned by BRAC, the fashion retailer Aarong is one of Bangladesh's largest chains. This chic brand began as a humble means to an end for a quiet organisation fighting to uphold the dignity of marginalised people. In 1976, when BRAC first began to support silk firming for Bangladeshi women, the only buyers were a few scattered retailers in Dhaka. Weeks, even months would pass between supply and payment - until BRAC intervened.
Aarong, which means "market" in Bengali, was born to ensure that poor silk farmers were paid on time to feed their families.
Today, Aarong is a fair trade organisation that supports more than 65,000 artisans, 85 percent of whom are women. It is an example to the world of how the poor, when organised properly, can generate a financial surplus to support vital development work.