I know that many of us have been feeling the pinch of the recession lately. But it’s easy to forget that there is an entire world out there, full of people who are also being affected.
One group who are feeling the effects of the global downturn are fair trade artisans.
The artisans that make these fair trade items are getting fewer orders, which means they don’t need as many people to fill them. So, some artisans are let go. Others are working fewer hours.
But making less money has immediate consequences for these men and women; it means less food on the table, less money for school supplies or clothing or medical care.
Most fair trade artisans, including our own, depend on this income for the basics. Yes, they’re lucky to be earning more than others in their community (who often have to work for slave wages at a local factory), but the fact is that the downturn has affected this group of people just like it has everyone else.
What can we do?
We can continue to support fair trade. The amazing thing about fair trade is that you see a direct benefit; when you purchase fair trade products, you know you’re buying something from a person that was paid fairly for their work, who has a safe working environment, and reasonable working hours. You’re helping keep them employed so they can put food on the table and send their children to school.
Many of us are spending less money. But when we do spend, we can make sure we are putting our money to its best use. When you purchase fair trade items, whether it’s a hemp bag or a bag of coffee, you’re truly making a positive difference in someone’s life.
The founder of Earth Divas, Ed, is currently on his way out to Nepal to speak with our artisans. He’s going to be sending back stories and pictures on how they’re doing, and I’ll be posting these on the blog as they come in. So stay tuned!
Filed under: Fair Trade Living on August 10th, 2010