Originally posted August 4, 2009 at “The Living Basket”
Fair Trade products are more than just good coffee and tea. My favorite thing about Fair Trade is the unity you feel with the rest of the world when you responsibly learn about the products you see and the people who made them.
Fair Trade products are hand made locally, by someone in another part of the world who is working to make a living that will sustain them. Not only that, but the products they are making are traditional — the native artisans and craftsmen are making baskets, jewelry, paper, pottery, and other goods that are original to their people and region. (Granted, they must adjust to the fact that demand requires them to make a product that conforms to a pattern.) That is what makes Fair Trade fair — people are being paid wages that will allow them to provide for themselves and their families for making crafts and goods that are traditional and native to their own culture.
Not only that, but many Fair Trade products come from organizations that are set up specifically to benefit people in need. For example, women in the INEZA cooperative in Rwanda, who are genocide survivors and are receiving HIV treatment, are living productive and positive lives. They empower themselves, other women, and their community by earning a living and benefits making beautiful, useful products out of traditional, native Rwandan fabrics. When you buy one of these products, you know you aren’t just paying for “a portion of the proceeds to benefit” but are helping to keep these beautiful and deserving women employed and sustained.
At the Fair Trade online store, my favorite way to browse is by country. We all hear about disasters and tragedies in other countries, but there is something about looking at something that has come directly from that country’s people that helps you connect with them. When you click on a product, you can read where it came from and what it is made with.
By far, my favorite thing about Fair Trade is the sense of global community I feel when I see for myself the beauty of a handmade craft from another part of the world and know that somehow, there are people out there that are working to make this one small world a better place for us all. When you see these useful items and you know what hands they came from, it really does seem like this world isn’t so big.
Here are some other points of view on Fair Trade:
For more information: