Shop Class as Soulcraft

“There are fewer occasions for the kind of spiritedness that is called forth when we take things in hand for ourselves, whether to fix them or to make them.” -Matthew Crawford-

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I stole the title of this blog post from Matthew Crawford, a philosopher and mechanic who wrote the book “Shop Class as Soulcraft” to make people examine what we’ve lost by ceasing to work with our hands and how we can get it back.

As I was visiting St. Joseph’s School of Industrial Trades today in Dhaka, I thought a lot about Crawford’s words and the challenge and importance of finding work that not only connects you to your community, but also back to yourself.

About 150 male students (between 15-20 years old) from all over Bangladesh apply to be part of this 3-year program, which teaches them all the necessary skills to build high-quality furniture from reclaimed wood by hand. The sale of their amazing work fully supports the school’s operations. Beyond that, it offers them job security in a place where education is scarce and poverty is rampant.

To see more photos, check out my album here.

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