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Social Change through Fair Trade

Posted on March 4th, 2009 by Mire in fair trade, gaiam, international women's day, macy's, peaceful valley, sustainability, women's issues 0 Comments

To acknowledge International Women’s Day (IWD) on March 8, we are taking this opportunity to honor and recognize women the world over as true agents of social change. Through purchasing retail items that were once known only as tribal or village handicrafts, you can help support these women as they implement change within their communities through their successful entrepreneurial endeavors. Supporting women from around the world through fair trade is a direct and effective way to create sustainability and peace within a community. Economic empowerment is a goal we can all relate to and for some women it is a matter of life and death. This month we encourage you to fall in love with some of the beautiful, hand-made, one-of-a-kind pieces from our strong and inspiring sisters across the globe. In this way you can help support Women for Women International, support female entrepreneurs worldwide and get your best girlfriends a unique gift just in time for International Women’s Day!

Launched in 2005, Macy’s Path to Peace Project is changing lives by putting income-generating opportunities into the hands of Rwandan women. Today the project employs thousands of weavers yielding remarkable results that impact tens of thousands of lives. Because this initial campaign has proven so effective, Macy’s has embraced an even broader product line named Shop for a Better World which includes collections of limited-edition master works from artisans in recovering regions of Rwanda, Cambodia and Indonesia.

To take action on International Women’s Day, Global Exchange is pleased to introduce the Women Around the World Gift Basket, a collection of gifts made by women from around the world. The Kaisa grass basket from Bangladesh is filled with Putumayo’s ‘Women of World Acoustic’ CD release, Palestinian Olive Oil Soap from the Aseela Women’s Cooperative, Native Scents Goddess of the Bath Herbal Bath Bags, End the Embargo on Cuba -1 Pound Bag of Coffee, Choice Tea, Star Ornaments made by members of Thai Tribal Craft, Dip n’ Whisk Gift Set from ‘The Tomorrow Project’ (helping women create futures today), Greeting Card featuring a removeable hand-painted bottlecap ornament from the Batsiranai cooperative (a co-op of mothers with disabled children living in Zimbabwe), one dark Divine Chocolate Bar and a Recycled Flour Bag Shopping Tote, again from the Batsiranai Cooperative.

Peaceful Valley seeks out vendors that are committed to supporting environmental awareness, eco-friendly manufacture techniques and sustainable farming. Their products are chosen for sustainable characteristics as well as social responsibility. They do their best to buy locally. When they do order from other countries such as Brazil, Sri Lanka, China, Canada, Mexico and the Andes, they work with the owners of the companies to ensure that all imported products are manufactured under Fair Labor Standards

Indian textiles, art from Haiti, handicrafts from Eastern Europe, or jewelry from Asia… At Gaiam you can shop for fair trade merchandise by the region in which it was produced and help local artists and family craftspeople make a fair wage using traditional skills. “Tomorrow, I will have money; I will not have to beg, and my children can go to school,” says beadwork artisan Ms. Jagwati, summing up the most important reason to support fair trade: to restore someone’s hope, dignity, and smile. Jagwati comes from a slum in Delhi, one of many places around the world where fair trade is paving a way out of the cycle of poverty. By paying livable wages, funding schools and providing job training and child care assistance, fair trade is helping talented yet disadvantaged people gain ground against illiteracy, exploitation, slavery and human trafficking.

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