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Synergy in Nepal

At Synergy we look for ways of collaborating that tie into our core beliefs as a company. We were recently honored to have international photographer, volunteer, humanitarian, and all around amazing person, Amanda Bensel, do a documentary style photo shoot of our stitchers and our factory in Nepal. 

Kate Fisher (Co-Owner and Creative Director of Synergy) and Amanda Bensel met at the wedding of a mutual friend while in Nepal last February. As two Americans at a Nepali wedding, they instantly felt a connection. As it turns out,
Amanda and Kate have a lot in common, the most notable, being the profound inspiration that they find in the culture of Nepal. Both women have shaped their lives and careers around supporting and empowering the people of Nepal.

“Nepal holds a really special place in the imagination and there is a lot of heartfelt connection with the people who visit there” - Kate

Amanda first visited Nepal in September 2012 as part of the Peace Corps. She joined the Peace Corps hoping to gain perspective. She has a background in city planning, design, and architecture. She was able to bring that knowledge and expertise to her assigned post, Baglung, a small bazaar in western Nepal. Beyond her volunteer work through the Peace Corps, Amanda took on her own creative projects including a series of female empowerment murals, and facilitating a girl's leadership club.

Kate found her way to Nepal in 1993 seeking adventure and perspective in her life. She had always romanticized the idea of a simpler mountain life that was in stark contrast with her New York City upbringing. Her adventure turned entrepreneurial when she started buying textiles and clothing that she then sold upon her return home. Over the years, that evolved into the Synergy that exists today. Kate also places an emphasis on women’s empowerment. One of the goals of our handwork program is to create work for women that is independent of their husbands. Learn more about that here.

After the devastating earthquakes that took place in April 2015, Amanda felt a calling to help. She returned to Nepal and spent that summer working with an NGO called Learning Planet they focus on building and sustaining schools around the world (Read more about Learning Planet here). While there, she built temporary learning centers in heavily affected areas.

“When you have gone to this place and connected with these people, and yes, you recognize that you have a lot of privilege, but it makes you want to give back.”

Photography is a real passion for Amanda. She has always been interested in design, but needed a way to marry it with her love of helping people and traveling. She has recently done a few factory shoots for social enterprises. 

You can visit her website and learn more about her projects here.

Amanda Bensel

MA International Environmental Policy (2015) //Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey

Peace Corps Nepal (2012-2014)

BA Architecture and City Planning (2008) // University of California Berkeley


Penelope Strong

Penelope Strong said:

Knowing the background on Synergy’s founders is wonderful
As a lover of textiles I am proud to shop Synergy and know also as a humanitarian we are sustaining women’s work and providing a livelihood
Similar to the Bohus Swedish knitters

patricia liantonio

patricia liantonio said:

I have always felt a strong heart passion for serving humanity and this planet…I would like to hear and possibly become a part of the service that is offered in Nepal…I have a gift of healing through massage therapy, healing arts and compassion…Keep me in tuned to the goings on when Service is Needed…Heartfelt greetings from Patricia Dawn of HEALING HANDS WELLNESS BOUTIQUE IN SOUTHOLD….

Zubin Bajracharya

Zubin Bajracharya said:

What kind of organic cloth do you use?? Could you please tell me.. Just curious.. Does it have a special name or is it handmade by you??7

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