As we continue to raise awareness and to fund raise for the Fair Trade effort in Riverside, I want to share a story about the impact this partnership has in Bangladesh.
First, what is “Fair Trade”?
Fair Trade is defined as a partnership based on an exchange of goods that involves dialogue, transparency and mutual respect. It pursues greater equity in international trade. Fair Trade contributes to sustainable development by offering better trading conditions to, and securing the rights of, marginalized producers and workers.
Currently, we sell Fair Trade goods at various events around our area. It is our goal, with your support, to be able to extend the number of events we can participate in, while heading toward the goal of a Fair Trade storefront in Riverside. You may be thinking, “A store? What’s so great about a store?” That’s a great question! Our excitement about opening a store is that it will create opportunities to shop Fair Trade regularly, giving people the opportunity to address global poverty one purchase at a time.
Every purchase made makes a huge impact in the lives of our global partners. Consider the women of Sacred Mark, a co-op of women in Bangladesh. As a result of their involvement in Fair Trade, they have been able to break free from the sex trade and now make their living by making and selling soap and handicrafts. These women are now fairly employed, educated and empowered business owners.
By selling Fair Trade merchandise, we stand in solidarity with community-based artisans, like the women of Sacred Mark, in over 40 developing countries around the globe. We do this because we know the importance of treating others as we would like to be treated – fairly, justly, ethically. For artisans who would otherwise be unemployed or underemployed, often living in extreme poverty, a Fair Trade Agreement allows them the opportunity to buy food and obtain education, healthcare and housing for themselves, their families and other community members.