OUR JOURNEY TO FAIR TRADE
....."making the world a better place through fair trade"
A life-changing journey, for us and for artisans, began in the winter of 2007.
Dr. Emily Spivak, a physician of Infectious Disease at Johns Hopkins Medical Institute, daughter of the founder Linda Edwards, PhD, went to Uganda to work in a HIV clinic.
Linda accompanied her daughter and volunteered in several non-profits, where she met many artisans who made created many products by handwork.
While Emily worked in an HIV/AIDS hospital, she met a lady with a special talent. The lady asked Emily to look at her Recycled Paper Jewelry. That same evening the lady came to show Emily and Linda her bracelets and necklaces that she had made of recycled paper. They bought all of the crafts that the artisan brought to the guesthouse.
Emily and Linda decided to help other women who made Recycled Paper Jewelry. The jewelry sales help the artisans to provide medical care for their children, send them to school full-time, buy their required school uniforms and materials, have more nutritious food, and an improved quality of life.
In the clinics, as seen in the pictures, the children came with their parents to the clinic, for some of them also have AIDS. More often than not there is a big sister or brother who brings the children to the clinic. The children always seemed to be very happy to be at the clinic. At this Kampala town clinic the children sometimes wait all day for their turn at the clinic. The pediatric clinic is open every day and the children come once or more a month to receive their AIDS medicine.
Uganda is a country torn apart by civil war, particularly in the north. The women who have learned to make these fashionable and beads of many colors have gained self-sufficiency in their lives. The bead sales create an independence that they have never known. We offer the women lessons in entrepreneurship, learning about style, marketing, shipping and the computer.
When Linda met the lady artisans of the National Association of Women Organizations in Uganda, she was impressed with the ladies inquisitiveness and eagerness to learn about business. NAWOU had a meeting to learn about building a cottage artisan business. NAWOU also helps the artisans sell their products internationally.
Not always do the women sell enough products to rise completely out of poverty. Since eradication of poverty is the goal of Fair Trade buying, A Fair Trade World hopes that their artisans will reach a sustainable level of living and that with their children’s education finally enables prosperity in these families.
Women of the Uganda Crafts Cooperative make raffia baskets. Uganda Crafts buys their products by Fair Trade. These Nubian crafts are sisters and are the raffia weavers.
The women weave the baskets according to the orders that the non-profits have received. The artisans that weave the best quality have a better chance to sell their products. This lady in her daily colorful garment is also an artisan at Uganda Crafts organization.
Linda Edwards, co-founder, has achieved her PhD in Sustainability Education, with a focus on "Sustainability and Quality of Life for Artisans Practicing the Fair Trade Business Model". Linda was recognized as a Desert Star by Prescott College in Arizona for her work with artisans around the world. Linda was selected as Fulbright Alternate to go to Romania to study Fair Trade.
Linda's writings about Sustainability can be obtained by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org.