"Fairtrade is about better prices, decent working conditions, local sustainability, and fair terms of trade for farmers and workers in the developing world. By requiring companies to pay sustainable prices, Fairtrade addresses the injustices of conventional trade, which traditionally discriminates against the poorest, weakest producers. It enables them to improve their position and have more control over their lives". (Fairtrade.com.au)
I love fair trade, I love its ability to be used as an economic tool for God. I love discovering a new fair trade brand out there doing good. I love when people get excited about fair trade, and I love when people buy fair trade.
But most of all I love the stories of fair trade.
Aminul is the principal at the primary school connected with one of our suppliers in Bangladesh. He great man who works tirelessly to educate, inspire and encourage the children is his care - visiting them after school hours in the village, helping them with their homework during exam time and training the parents how to better help their kids with study. His wage is paid by the sale of the co-ops products - including our embroidered wraps.
There’s the story of Kiran, whose father started a Technical School in Nepal to train and educate women of the lowest caste, who could obtain no other source of income. Where women can bring their children to be cared for while they work and, when old enough, gain entry to the co-op run primary school. Again, funded by the sale of their goods. Our knitted toys are made here.
The stories of the women, who lost their husbands and fathers, their primary care givers in Bangladesh’s war of Independence. Who, through training and employment with various fair trade organisations, can now earn a fair income, gain access to adult literature classes, health services, up-skilling and financial training.
I co-founded The Little Sparrow after a trip to Bangladesh, hearing these stories first hand with my business partner Allison. I live fair trade on a daily basis; it’s highs and lows, in an effort to bring quality, desired, fair trade products to the marketplace.
We all need to look into the supply chain of the products we buy. I encourage you to look into even a few of your favourite products. Don’t get overwhelmed or disheartened because you can’t change all of your buying habits at once. Pick a few that are important to you and look at ways you can make your purchasing habits more ethical. For you it could be to buy certified fairtrade only, or support brands that actively seek to make change and have the credentials to back it up. It could be to buy from local producers, makers and brands.
My favourite story of all, is the young boy, whose name escapes me, but his eyes I can see as clear as day. He was in his final year of the primary school run by Aminul, when I returned a year later, he told me he had passed his exam to gain entry into high school, the first is his family, the only one in his village that year. He was so proud, so happy. And it was made possible for this one, young boy, because of the co-op making fair trade products for brands across the world.
About Megan: Megan is the co-founder of The Little Sparrow, a company that creates unique FAIR, ETHICAL and FUN children's products. Megan has worked in the childrens fashion industry and has studied fashion and textiles both locally at RMIT University and abroad at FIT in New York. She is passionate about international trade being ethical, and used as a tool for sustainable, economic development.
To check out the ethical products The Little Sparrow sells, check out www.thelittlesparrow.com.au or find them on facebook.