The summer interns at Global Exchange have been organizing an exciting new event happening this year nationwide to promote awareness and garner support for the Fair Trade Movement. Beginning now, and until July 21st Global Exchange will be holding a Fair Trade Holiday Song Contest, open to kids, youth and adults. Rules for the contest assert that all entries must be comprised of original lyrics, composed to the melody of a well-known holiday song, and must in some way reflect the ideas of the Fair Trade movement. Lyrics will be judged in 2 categories, adults and kids under 12, and the grand prize winner with receive a delicious assortment of Global Exchanges Fair Trade Truffles. Other winners will get their song entries published in the caroling song book, with the authors acknowledged in the songbook and on the website.
The other part of the Fair Trade Caroling campaign will actively begin as the holiday season approaches in November and December. We felt that since Fair Trade is so fundamentally based in the ideas of social justice and creating a more global community, the association with the warmth and unity of the holiday spirit would nicely tie the Fair Trade message into the holiday season. Therefore, we have begun reaching out to church groups, choirs, and mere caroling enthusiasts to help us spread the word about Fair Trade. The ideas is that songbooks in hand, these groups will be able to incorporate a few of the Fair Trade Song lyrics into their normal caroling routines. While spreading holiday joy and cheer they will simultaneously educate the public about the importance of the Fair Trade Movement.
As the song lyrics begin to come in, it will be exciting to see the creative things that people come up with! We will keep updating with each stage of this project, as the holiday season gets closer.
Monday, June 30, 2008
Wednesday, June 25, 2008
Tuesday, June 24, 2008
We visited Monkeybiz in Capetown, a non-profit craft organization that puts all of their profits back into the communities they work with via payment for bead art and community services. They’ve created employment for 450+ women beaders in the Capetown townships of Mandela Park, Khayelitsha and Phillipi. Basically the way they work is that first they supply glass beads to women in the townships of Cape Town. Then once a week, women assemble and are paid for each piece they produce, assuming it passes muster. Since the women work from home, they are able to look after their families. The women learn beading from their mothers and other women in their community.
Each piece is truly a work of art. It was quite a feeling, standing in a room filled with Monkeybiz pieces, surrounded by the explosion of color and spirit. We were hoping to visit some of the bead workers in the townships on the outskirts of Capetown, but our trip was canceled due to the xenophobic attacks that were taking place in the townships.
Monkeybiz also runs a wellness clinic, which provides skills training and HIV/AIDS support for low income HIV positive women. To learn more about Monkeybiz and the awesome work they are doing, check out their website.
Friday, June 20, 2008
Streetwires is a business with a social mission that is tackling the problems of unemployment and poverty in South Africa head on. Their “Proudly South African” project is providing the skills training, support and raw materials necessary to enable over 100 formerly unemployed men and women to channel their natural creative energies into a vibrant wire art form.
Their workshop was hopping to say the least. Music pumping, beaders talking and laughing their way through the work day. The wire art was incredible. From giant lion wall decorations down to tiny vegetable magnets, there were all kinds of products, made primarily out of beads. When we toured the area where the crafters work their magic, we noticed one man putting the finishing touches on a large sheep. Later as we perused the Streetwires retail shop located upstairs, we ran into the sheep-maker who was just adding the sheep onto the sales floor, a beaming smile across his face, a job well done! A cool project to say the least. Check them out at
Wednesday, June 18, 2008
Hours of driving through the rural back roads of KwaZulu Natal lead us to two vibrant groups of basket weavers, located about an hour from each other. We were once again escorted by a representative from Khumulani Craft, who helped to arrange the meeting. In both cases as we drove up to our meeting places, we were welcomed by singing and dancing Zulu women.
The first group of women we met with came from three villages, called Vukanathi, Zenzelemi, and Siyaphambili, who gathered together to showcase some of their baskets and to openly discuss the possibility of selling products through our stores. The second group was called Vulukhanya. As we had encountered previously during other artisan meetings, both groups of women were the sole bread winners of their families, relying on basket weaving as their main source of income. It was inspiring to hear stories of their children who had gone off to college thanks to the income earned through basket weaving.
We learned that with these groups, basket weaving is a talent passed down from mother to daughter, rather than taught in a formal classroom. Historically, the baskets were used to store grain, beer and other liquids and some basket weavers still use them for these purposes. Some baskets take up to 2-3 weeks to make, given the level of detail and the tightness of the weave. The basket weavers set their own price for each basket, and take great pride in their work.
Tuesday, June 17, 2008
Wola Nani, Xhosa for ‘we embrace and develop one another’, was established in 1994 as a non-profit organisation to help bring relief to the communities hardest hit by the HIV crisis in the townships* of Capetown. It was formed at a time when there was a large pull-back on welfare spending and a huge increase in the number of HIV and AIDS cases, Wola Nani initiated programmes to help HIV+ people in the local community cope with the emotional and financial strains brought about by HIV and AIDS.Wola Nani focuses on the needs of HIV+ women and their children, Wola Nani’s services aim to ease the burden of HIV by enabling people living with the virus to respond positively and attain the skills to develop their own coping strategies.
Historically disenfranchised, disempowered and marginalised, women bear the brunt of the South African pandemic, where around 20% of the total population is infected with the disease. They have little voice to articulate their needs or to claim the services on which their survival depends.
Wola Nani Crafts emerged in response to the need for unemployed, HIV-positive women to generate an income. They currently offer a wide range of products from, paper mache houseware to beadwork.
Refers to often underdeveloped South African urban living areas that, under Apartheid, were reserved for non-whites (principally black Africans and Coloureds, but also working class Indians). Townships were usually built on the periphery of towns and cities
Monday, June 16, 2008
Community Creations, falls under their economic improvement program. An intiative that "empowers South African township communities through education, economic empowerment and partnership."
The GX team was going to visit some of these craft creation projects in the townships of Capetown. Unfortunately, a wave of xenaphobic attacks broke out in Capetown and the trip was cancelled. However, the GX team did have the oppotunity to meet with the Executive Director Helen Lieberman and hear her powerful stories of how she defied Apartheid authorities to build Ikamva Labantu.
GX will be be offering some of Ikamva Labantu products in partnership with Global Good Partners. Global Goods Partners (GGP) is dedicated to alleviating poverty and promoting social justice by strengthening women-led development initiatives for marginalized communities in Asia, Africa, and the Americas.
Friday, June 13, 2008
Sunpayi lives in a village called Hlalanikahlie located in Mpumalanga, South Africa. His small stone house is set in a beautiful area of rolling mountains and expansive fields. He works with a number of woods including jacaranda, creating hand-carved utilitarian creations like salad servers and other wooden kitchen utensils. His designs are unique in shape and exquisitely carved. The income Sunpayi earns from carving goes towards school fees for his children and to buy mealies to plant. We are excited to bring some of Sunpayi’s creations to the U.S.!
Thursday, June 12, 2008
Drop down menu! (oooh aaaah)
Video of KwaXolo members singing and giving us a warm welcome.
One of our favorite groups we met with are the KwaXolo Beaders, located in the rural village of KwaXolo, in Zululand. This group consists of 18 women, most of whom are the primary bread winners for their family. They bead a variety of items, from necklaces to walking sticks.
Like the Loving Hands beaders, KwaXolo beaders also sustain a community garden, so that they are not devasted by the global spike in food prices. Our hosts were representatives from, Khumbulani Crafts, a non-profit organization, whose mission is " to contribute towards poverty alleviation in rural communities through the production, marketing and sale of traditional and contemporary craft."
Learn More at http://www.khumbulani.co.za/
KwaXolo member explains to us, in the Zulu language, of her hunger and need for more craft orders to sustain her and her family.
Wednesday, June 11, 2008
For many in this group, women are the sole bread winners of their families, and craft making is their only source of income. Each bead is made by hand from recycled bottles, which the women collect for free in a bottle recycling drop off place. The bottles come from Kruger park and we were glad to see them put to such good use. Once the women pick up the bottles from the drop off location, they are ground down and made into a mud-like substance. Then the women roll each bead by hand, poking a hole using a long needle-shaped tool. Next the beads are baked, then painted, and finally strung into necklaces.
Handmade bead-making is a tedious process. A lot of care goes into crafting each bead. Knowing these beads came from recycled bottles makes them extra special, and a product we look forward to offering in our stores.
Check out the Loving Hands Muticolored and Cobalt colored necklaces on our website.
Tuesday, June 10, 2008
Monday, June 9, 2008
Since 1985, Tintsaba Crafts has run a rural development project in the Northern Hhohho region of Swaziland to produce and market quality crafts. The primary material used is the sisal weed found in the outlying hills and woven very finely, then dyed with German eco-friendly dyes, thereby making Tintsaba’s products 100% sustainable.
Tintsaba provides income to over 600 Swazi women. Tintsaba is not only committed to economic empowerment, but also to the health and education of their crafters children. The crafters are divided into several different groups according to the village they live in. Each group has a group leader, a trainer and a HIV educator. Swaziland now has the highest HIV rate in the world with around 40% of it’s citizens HIV positive.
Check out our kyte channel below and see photos of the crafters...
As we mentioned earlier, the following posts will be a report back from our recent Direct Buy Trip to South Africa and Swaziland. We will highlight the numerous craft groups that we visited and the impact that Fair Trade has had in their lives. We will shower you with photos and videos that we captured and are able to share with you with the amazing help from kyte.tv. Now let's start from the beginning....
We began our visit with Aid to Artisans South Africa Artisan Trust, a field office of Aid to Artisans (ATA), based in Johannesburg. ATA is a US based nonprofit organization that offers practical assistance to artisan groups worldwide, working in partnerships to foster artistic traditions, cultural vitality and to improve community well-being. Through collaboration in product development, business skills training and development of new markets, Aid to Artisans provides sustainable economic and social benefits for craftspeople in an environmentally sensitive and culturally respectful manner.
In partnership with W.K. Kellogg Foundation, Aid to Artisans South Africa Artisan Trust has begun a multi-year program in southern Africa to "facilitate the growth and sustainability of cultural industries through market and product development, training and entrepreneurship building in southern Africa."The emphasis of this collaboration is to transfer expertise to local people, helping them to solve their own problems. ATA's is working with several groups in the Eastern Cape and others in Mkhanyakude, KwaZulu-Natal.
To learn more about their innovative programs at: