From The Mountain Cashmere is hand spun in Afghanistan by women left destitute by over a decade of war. In 2007, a USAID venture called the Accelerating Sustainable Agriculture Project (ASAP) teamed up with Abdul Basir Hotak, at the time a 15-year veteran of the Afghan cashmere industry. Together, they installed the country's first scouring and de-hairing equipment, allowing Hotak to process and add value to the fiber in-country.
While working as a consultant for USAID in 2011, Susan Inglis, the founder of From The Mountain met Abdul Basir Hotak. Susan was contracted by the Sustainable Agriculture program (ASAP) to work with mr. Hotak to improve the cashmere supply chain in Afghanistan and to bring new economic opportunity to rural areas.
Hotak and From The Mountain have taken this beautiful fiber a step further with beautiful hand spun yarn that supports livelihoods for Afghan women. There are, however, very few jobs that are considered socially acceptable for women. Many of the women have spun yarn for their own home use and wool for the carpet industry. But spinning high-quality cashmere fiber into yarn for hand-knitters pays far better, providing a fair wage and an alternative to growing poppies for opium and heroin. The spinners are able to stay home with their children and provide for them at the same time.
From the Mountain cashmere is available in 4 natural shades, the yarn is untreated and it is handspun using a drop spindle.