Sunday, July 12, 2009

Make a Difference today

By Rebecca and Glenn Fadner

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Everybody's talking about the economy these days. And all of us are "challenged" by the effect it is having on our lives (and our investments). How often do we stop to think of the effect that it is having in the poorest regions of the world?

Our supplier Hagar Design has had to lay off over half of the women it employs because orders are "down" from every part of the world. The impact is not only on the ladies, but affects their children as well. Even we at KVI have had to reduce our orders by more than half the amount we ordered last year.

When we first started working with Maria, our seaglass artisan in Honduras, our orders made it possible for her to send her son, Samuel, to school. The economy has so devastated the tourist trade that Made in Honduras has far less traffic (and sales) in their shop. The "extras" are "out". Our recent purchases from Maria are essential to allow her to put food on the table.

Food prices are skyrocketing in Kenya. You can argue whether it's the economy or the corruption (probably both!), but many people are hard-pressed to put basic staples on their table. When we visited our artisans this past February, we brought along a gift of basic food staples to each one. We had been told that what we brought (flour, corn meal, oil, sugar, tea) was about a week's worth of food for a family.

A few weeks after we returned home, we heard from our artisan Simon, owner of Alisim Glass Studio in Kenya, how appreciative they were for the food that they had "stretched" for more than three weeks.

These are just a few examples that WE know about, but we know they are not isolated cases. When the economy falters in the "developed" world, we describe it as "painful" and "difficult". For those in the "developing" world, it could best be described as "devastating".

Buying Fair Trade products helps lessen the impact because one of the key tenets of Fair Trade is "fair" payment to the people doing the work. When you make a purchase - whether it's a gift from KVI, flowers for a loved one, coffee, tea, or chocolate - we encourage you to purchase Fair Trade and know that you "made a difference".


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