Khushi Kantha graduated from Cambridge Social Ventures in March 2021.
Khushi Kantha creates one-of-a-kind, multi-purpose baby blankets, hand-stitched from reclaimed and ethnically sourced cotton and embroidered with empowerment by mothers in Bangladesh.
‘Kantha’ (which translates as “stitched cloth”) refers to the Bengali tradition of repurposing old cotton saris to create ultra-soft, multi-layered blankets, especially for babies.
The traditional embroidery stitch that is applied over the top is known as ‘kantha’ stitch.
‘Kantha’ can also simply mean ‘blanket’.
‘Khushi’ is the Bengali term for ‘happy’ – ‘Khushi Kantha’ therefore means ‘Happy Blanket’.
Khushi Kantha reworks the kantha approach to meet global hygiene and safety standards, while retaining the principles of ‘reclaim, repurpose, reuse’ and bringing the cultural heritage of Bangladesh to a wider audience.
Their blankets are created from ethically-produced traditional handloom fabric on the outside and deadstock cotton fabric from the Bangladeshi garments sector on the inside.
Laura Rana is the founder of Khushi Kantha.
She has a long-term personal and professional connection to Bangladesh, including first-hand experience of working in the Rohingya refugee camps through her career in humanitarian aid.
The idea for the venture came when Laura was gifted a large collection of traditional baby ‘kantha’ blankets when her half-British, half-Bangladesh twin daughters were born. These were lovingly created by her mother- and sister-in law, with help from friends and neighbours. Their bright colours and traditional ‘kantha’ stitching drew compliments wherever she went, and she realised there could be a market for them!
Laura is currently a ‘one-woman band’, but she has mobilised a network of advisors and volunteers to help her launch Khushi Kantha. She is ultimately aiming to employ at least 300 women producing blankets, supported by a local co-ordination team.
Khushi Kantha creates opportunities for Bangladeshi mothers to provide for their children with dignity, by using their existing skills and drawing on their cultural heritage to earn sustainable incomes.
Khushi Kantha promotes environmental wellness through employing circular economy principles of ‘reclaim, repurpose, and reuse’ in its production approach.
The ultimate goal is to break the transmission of poverty from one generation to the next, harnessing the collective power of a global community of mothers to build better futures for the next generation.