"There are a thousand ways to kneel and kiss the earth" -Rumi
Raksha Bella's mission is to provide beautiful certified organic cotton hand blocked bedding for the home. Our company's name is also its creed- Raksha, pronounced (ra-k-shaw), meaning protection in Sanskrit, and Bella, the Latin classic for beautiful. Appropriately, Raksha Bella's philosophy is to protect what is beautiful with our devotion to hand-made organic textiles. Raksha Bella's prints are made by hand-carved woodblock patterns, printed by hand, on 100% GOTS certified organic cotton in Jaipur, Rajasthan, India.
Our organic products are made with only GOTS certified (Global Organic Textiles Standard) organic cotton sateen. This is currently the highest standard for organic fiber production. From field to barrel, this certification ensures that our products are made of pure 100% organic cotton and that the co-op in which the organic cotton was grown as well as the transport, milling and print, cut and sew production engages in fair labor practices and the protection of organic cotton products. Click here for more information on GOTS.
Organic farmers use only untreated, non-GMO seeds for their cotton harvest. Because of annual crop rotation, the soil is strong and ready for planting with no additional fertilizers needed. The organic cotton crop retains water efficiently because of increased organic matter in the soil, which means organic farming of cotton contributes to water conservation efforts. In organic cotton farming weeds are eliminated physically, not chemically, through cultivation and hand hoeing. Organic cotton production avoids pesticide use altogether. This is done by creating a balance between pests and their natural predators through the presence and maintenance of healthy soil as well as introducing beneficial insects instead of insecticides to control pests. Before the cotton crop can be harvested the leaves must come off, either naturally or through removal. In organic cotton farming, as chemical removal is not an option, farmers rely mostly on the seasonal freeze for leaf removal. If the season proves to be unreliable, organic farmers might turn to water management as a stimulant.
All of our pieces are printed with AZO-FREE low impact dyes on our organic cotton. Azo dyes, or traditional commercial dyes, are commonly used to color textiles and plastics. Some of the by-products, such as chlorinated aromatic amines, are toxic and may be potential carcinogens. The European Commission has recently passed directive 76/769EEC, which bans the use of certain azo dyes for use in any textile or leather product which may come in "direct or prolonged" contact with the skin or mouth. Also, Azo dyes and pigments resist biodegradation under aerobic conditions, so they are difficult to remove from an ecosystem.
Social Justice & Deep Green Values
Raksha Bella believes that the next step to sustainability is to not only organic farming and growing cotton without the use of harmful pesticides and other harmful toxins, but to then provide a framework for healing the planet en masse by mobilizing and empowering the people who live on it. We are tackling issues of education, livelihood, and sustenance where environmental degradation, non existent health care, and disadvantaged positions in the labor market are often at its worst.
Our Classic, Kaleidoscope & Baby Collections are cut and sewn by women who are self employed through a micro-finance system inspired by the Nobel Peace Prize winning Grameen banking system of micro-loans for women below the poverty line. These women are mobilized by the support of self help groups and become empowered by their work as independent contractors, earning a fair living wage. Giving women in poor rural households an opportunity to step out of poverty and earn a good living radically reduces environmental problems within their impoverished communities.
In addition to working with micro-finance, we donate a small percentage of our sales every quarter to a program called Vidyamritam (Nectar of Love) from Embracing the World, an NGO founded by renowned spiritual and humanitarian leader, Sri Mata Amritanandamayi Devi (Amma). This program helps to contribute to providing scholarships to 100,000 children of farmers living below the poverty line in India. Since the project was launched with Embracing the World in September 2007, 32,000 students from the states of Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Kerala have been enrolled in the program.
The premise for developing a business model such as ours is based in trust and the desire to empower people as well as protect and encourage organic farming & human rights on a global scale. For us it is not enough to offer simply an environmentally sound product, but to enhance the world with "deep green" values and "deep green" strategies. This in turn creates a cultural model for new generations to start early in their upbringing by incorporating sustainable values in everything they do. It is simply not enough to apply a band-aid to a deep wound that actually needs further intervention. Being a source of inspiration, modeling solutions, and offering empowerment is a powerful resource for all business.
Sleep in beautiful organic textiles, and also serve. We can do both...rest well knowing the wholeness of your surroundings...