A Fair Trade Alliance

Raise your hand if you love Twitter! My hand is up and waving frantically and this is why.
I have met the most wonderful people (or tweeple in the twitter vernacular) in 140 characters or less. I just have to tell you about a couple of them because they are just that awesome.
Several weeks ago I began communicating with Eileen at Scarlet Threads. I have one of their aprons right here that was made using fair labor practices by a Chinese woman living in a very poor village. I bought the apron (and we sell their aprons and dresses now too) because I knew that she would be paid a living wage and it would help her family out of poverty. I also bought it because it’s adorable! Through Scarlet Threads I have become acquainted with Delicate Fortress, NYC Fair trade, Craft Hope, 7 Hopes United and other wonderful fair trade organizations. We are loosely (emphasis on loosely) organized in a fair trade alliance.
I’m excited about this because I know that together we can accomplish so much more than we can separately. Case in point…. Many of us are pulling together to help Delicate Fortress and Craft Hope make maternal birth kits for mothers in Haiti. You can read about the project on the Delicate Fortress blog. For our part Fair Trade Mission will buy a kit for every $25 someone spends on our website. Our profit margins are very small, so the cost of each kit will in most cases exceed by half what our usual profit would be. Of course if you prefer, you can go directly to Delicate Fortress Creations and buy the kits there. But if you need a gift, coffee,chocolate or tea anyway I hope you will consider making the purchase at Fair Trade Mission. Together (in alliance) we can make a difference in Haiti.

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Orlando Freedom Rally

modeling the Scarlet Threads Apron

Fair Trade Mission was thrilled to take part in Orlando’s 3rd annual Freedom Rally on Sunday Jan 16. This year I’m told it was bigger and better than ever. Being a relative newby to the issues of human trafficking and yes, labor trafficking this was my first rally. So I have nothing with which to compare it. The disclaimer out of the way, now I can say that it far exceeded my expectations. You can see me here modeling the too cute “Aubergine” apron from Scarlet Threads. But more about that later. First let me tell you about the Rally.
The event took place at Lake Eola Park making use of the bandshell for music, skits, testimonials, speeches and prayers. The weather cooperated and it was a perfect day to enjoy a stroll around the lake. It was thrilling to see so many people come out to learn more about human trafficking. We loaded people up with a lot of information, gave out fair trade coffee, hot chocolate and chocolate bar samples and met countless new friends. Some folks seemed surprised that fair trade products have such a high level of quality. I’m not sure why that is, but I’m very glad to have a hand in changing their minds.
My friend Diana Scimone of Born To Fly International spoke briefly about how she got involved in stopping child trafficking. If you ever get the chance, ask Diana about the picture that changed her life. Your life will be changed too.
Now let’s get back to that apron. Scarlet Threads is a new (to us) company that we are very excited to be working with. They genrously donated one of their “Kyra” aprons to be given away as a door prize. Thank You! They are helping poor women who happen to be fine seemstresses in a Chinese village to support their families and gain independence by sewing- aprons and little girls dresses mostly. A portion of the profits are reinvested into their community. You can read more about Scarlet Threads at their website Scarletthreads.org. I got so many compliments on this apron that I know our new line from Scarlet Threads will be much in demand. I can’t wait to see the new items they come up with this year.
The Freedom Rally was a big success. Who knew that creating awareness for the serious subject of human trafficking could be so enjoyable?

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No Fair!

Spend some time with children and even some adults and you are bound to hear these words ring out, sometimes followed by the rejoinder “who ever said life was fair?”. Children are born with a strong sense of what is fair and what is not. An older sibling is allowed to stay up later – “No Fair!”. An entire classroom is punished for the bad behavior of a few students – “No Fair!”. Circumstances change and a promised treat must be delayed – “No Fair!”.
As children our sense of fairness is centered around our own personal comfort and desires. As adults we can begin to look outside ourselves to recognize injustice done to others. A coffee farmer works hard all year to bring in his harvest only to have the middle man pay him just pennies a pound. He may lose his farm. He can’t afford to send his children to school. Health care is non-existent. No Fair! Children are lured into jobs harvesting cocoa with promises of fair pay. Instead they are enslaved. No Fair! Women, often child brides, trapped in abusive situations have no way to escape or support themselves. No Fair!
I am shocked and horrified to read the stories of struggling, abused and marginalized people all over the world. But is it enough to simply acknowledge social injustice? Or can we help to balance the scales of fairness by making a few minor changes in our everyday choices? We can change lives, empowering people to support themselves. I’m not talking about charity, but the classic “teach a man to fish” philosophy really does work. You don’t have to sacrifice all your comforts to do this. Simply buy fair trade products. What could be easier? You get great organic, sustainable and/or handcrafted items and the producer gets paid a fair wage. It’s so simple, but will you do it?
Of course I would love it if you would buy fair trade products from Fair Trade Mission , but the important thing is that you make the switch. If you haven’t shopped for fair trade items before, you might be surprise at the wide array of products available. It’s not just coffee anymore! But that’s the title of another post.

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So What Does This Have To Do With Fair Trade?

One would think that for my first post for Fair Trade Mission, I would talk about fair trade.  Well, yes that makes sense.  Fair trade is all about giving people the means to take care of themselves.  That is why I decided to post this press release about a young girl’s urgent need in hopes that some folks see it and decide to help give Dannika the opportunity for a future.  She is a big hearted, talented girl, but she needs your help.  Please keep reading.

Local Young Woman Has Desperate Medical Need


Saint Augustine, Florida, May 3, 2010

Have you ever had that nightmare where all of your teeth start crumbling and falling out of your mouth?  That horror is a reality for Dannika White.  Dannika was born with the genetic disorder, Amelogenesis Imperfecta (AI). AI causes abnormal enamel formation, and can have varying degrees of affect on those afflicted with it.  Unfortunately, Dannika has a very severe form of the disorder. She has had 18 surgeries since her infancy simply to maintain a low level of oral function.  The oral surgeries and dentistry are no longer maintaining her fragile teeth.  Her teeth are cracking and breaking into shards. They have incurred dangerous infections that threaten her life.  She can no longer chew food and is in constant, debilitating pain.

Dannika needs oral surgery immediately.  She needs to have all of her teeth removed, her infections treated, her bones seeded to prevent collapse, and dentures implanted.  Because amelogenesis imperfecta is such a rare genetic disorder, very few oral surgeons have experience in treating it.  Dannika has found an experienced Oral Surgeon, Dr. Gregory Oxford, in Saint Augustine, who has developed a treatment plan for her. Though Dr. Oxford has generously discounted his work, the first phase of the treatment has a cost of nearly $7,000.

Dannika is a high school student. She does not qualify for health insurance, Medicaid is not accepted by the Oxford Dental Group, and she has been turned down for lines of credit.  She is in desperate need of these surgeries, but has no way to pay for it.

If you can help Dannika please go to http://wiedemerwords.blogspot.com/ and click on the PayPal donation button.

you in advance for your incredible generosity. Together we will provide a healthy life for Dannika.

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