One of the more recent “trends” in gift giving has been to focus on fair-trade items. Many will be familiar with fair-trade coffee (which makes a great gift) but the fair-trade movement goes well beyond that to include other food products, hand crafts, clothing and more.
The wonderful thing about fair-trade items is that the organizations selling them are in it for the artisan, not to make a fortune for themselves. One of my favourite fair-trade organizations is Ten Thousand Villages (which I’m going to refer to as “TTV” from here on in, because it takes too long to say that name over and over. )
TTV is celebrating its 65th anniversary this year. It began with the vision of one woman who sold hand-crafted items out of the trunk of her car. Since those humble beginnings it has grown to support 130 different artisan groups in 35 countries worldwide, providing them with the opportunity to earn a living and support their families. You might pay a little more for a fair trade item but by doing so, you know that you are enabling someone to live with dignity.
TTV has stores all over North America but SADLY not in Abbotsford, where I live. The good news for those living in Abbotsford is that TTV often has seasonal craft sales and one of those is happening in my church this week. From December 6-10, 10 am – 5 pm (and from 10 am – 9 pm on Friday Dec 9th) you can visit the TTV store set up at Emmanuel Mennonite Church 3471 Clearbrook Road. This seasonal sale will focus on items from East Africa, in order to support artisans facing famine and drought. There will also be items from other countries to choose from: books, scarves, games for children, hand bags, soap, chocolate, tea, spices, coffee, nativity sets, Christmas tree ornaments, jewelery… and more! I’ll be volunteering on Thursday afternoon from 12-2pm, so if you’re in the neighbourhood, drop by and say hi! To check out the location of the TTV store nearest you, visit their website “store locator” section.
Do you shop fair-trade? What’s your favourite fair-trade item?