Thursday, December 7, 2006

Alternative Giving: Fair Trade

One of the ways we can give gifts that make a difference this year is by buying Fair Trade goods. Fair Trade organizations work with artisans from disadvantaged and underdeveloped countries to sell their goods with the goal of providing regular work and fair pay. The Ten Thousand Villages website describes their work this way:

Many artisans tell us that fair trade brings them much more than regular work and fair pay. They begin to see hope for the future, earn dignity and respect in their community and experience joy in being able to provide for their families.
Ten Thousand Villages is one of the world's largest Fair Trade organizations, working since 1946 with tens of thousands of artisans all over the world who would otherwise be unemployed or underemployed. On their website, they sell a huge selection of handicrafts from all over the world, including:
  • alpaca blankets from Peru
  • beaded bracelets from Guatemala
  • leather drums from Kenya
  • gorgeous Indonesian kites!

Other fair trade organizations:

A Greater Gift is a program of SERRV International, a nonprofit alternative trade and development organization. SERRV has been working to assist artisans and farmers for more than 55 years.

Equal Exchange is a worker-owned co-op with a new approach to trade that offers consumers fairly traded gourmet coffee direct from small-scale farmer co-ops in Latin America, Africa and Asia.

Marketplace: Handwork of India is a non-profit organization working to empower Indian Women artisans through employment opportunities and social change.

You can find more Fair Trade organizations on Ten Thousand Village's Fair Trade Friends page.

You can read the 10 principles of the International Fair Trade Association here.

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