Monday, May 23, 2011

Why Should I Buy Fair Trade Products?

A letter from Martina Mariani, our Social Media Specialist. Martina spent the last six months working with in Gulu and now continues tweeting and blogging from the West Coast.

Someone recently asked me why it’s important to buy fair trade. As I sat down to write my response, I thought it might be something I could share with you too.

For One Mango Tree, it’s all about our forty-seven employees. They are our focus and the reason we push on, even when times are tough. The forty-seven women who work for One Mango Tree are given an advantage. Financially, they make more than most of their fellow Acholi women and are able to better support their children and families. What's more, they are treated fairly at work, paid consistently, and deal with managers and directors who treat them with respect. They work in a healthy, professional environment and are given child-care services, school fees, and house loans.

ladies working in the One Mango Tree handbag workshop in Gulu, Northern Uganda

On top of financial benefits, One Mango Tree employees receive courses and seminars about how to save money, spend wisely, and even lessons on how to be a better mom, hone their English skills, and become more educated in politics and governmental issues.

To me, buying “Fair Trade” is important because simply by shopping you are supporting people's livelihood who wouldn't otherwise have a way to support their families or feed themselves. The fair trade system is important because by feeding into it you are committing yourself to buy things that are created through fair, legal, and humane efforts. It's similar to the “farm-to-plate” idea, but for fair trade products like One Mango Tree's, it’s usually “factory-to-closet”. When I buy One Mango Tree, I know that the person behind the product is taken care of.

Apiyo Prisca, Adokorach Monica and Awoto Margret take a tea break in the garden

I think it is important for consumers to be thoughtful about whose hands made each item purchased. How was she treated in the process of making it? Was she paid fairly? Was she even old enough to be working?

Or, is it possible that my clothes are actually hurting people?

I believe that deep down, we all want to be part of movement where people are looking out for their fellow humans, whether those people are our neighbors or somewhere far across the globe. I believe that we all want to see children getting educated, mouths being fed, and people making a happy and successful life for themselves. Instead of contributing to corruption, human trafficking, and child abuse, it is important that we give our money and support to businesses creating sustainable incomes for women and men who are working hard and being treated fairly.


What are your reasons for buying fair trade? We'd love to hear from you. Send us an email or leave a comment and let us know your reasons.

1 comment:

shadders said...

I love fair trade, its all about playing fair


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