NORLHA'S INNOVATIVE APPROACH
Norlha is the Tibetan Plateau’s first yak khullu atelier. We opened our doors in 2007 in Ritoma Village, a nomad settlement comprising 230 families, 6000 yaks and 20,000 sheep. We now employ 130 people, all former nomads or members of nomad families, who have spun, woven and felted for generations. Still, creating a modern, marketable product required thinking and innovation as the local tools, drop spindles and blackstrap looms, were not conducive to commercially viable production. We innovated by using outside technology, importing charkhas and flying shuttle looms from India and Nepal, both ideal for a village based industry. For felting, we combined modern technology and the traditional knowledge and techniques of the local women.
NORLHA'S FAMILY OF ARTISANS
Norlha’s first employees had never done anything other than herding, and most had never seen the inside of a classroom. Still, they applied their natural skills to weaving, felting and administering. In the past six years, we have employed an increasing number of young people who though born as nomads, attended some school and prefer a job to herding. The yak has brought change with continuity and this new generation of rural Tibetans an alternative way or life, offering access to today’s world while remaining rooted in their environment.