Bangladesh Artisans

Mahaguthi,Sana Hastakala,Association for Craft ProducersWhen people ask me about the impact Ten Thousand Villages has on producers, lots of answers come to mind. But I believe it’s the artisans themselves who should have the final word regarding whether or not our work is making a difference.

There are lots of heartwarming examples, but I’ll share two that stand out in my mind:



Back-to-school pictureI suspect my children aren’t the only ones who’ve started counting down the days until summer break! And at this time of year, as the school year winds down, I find myself in a reflective mood.

In Canada, we take for granted every child’s right to a good education. Wherever we live, we expect our kids to get grounded in the basics they’ll need to thrive as adults, and to provide the tools they need if they choose to go on to post-secondary education.

Through my experience meeting some of Ten Thousand Villages’ talented artisan partners, I have been exposed to regions of the world where “education for all” is anything but the norm. One situation that comes immediately to mind is Nepal, where boys are much more likely than girls to have the opportunity to attend school.

Sacred MarkMaking ethical choices can be difficult. There are so many causes  that call out to us – causes like the environment,  animal rights, and those who are living in poverty, to name a few.  It can be overwhelming to care about everything that needs our attention, and that can sometimes cause us to throw up our hands and not do anything. That was me, before I came to realize Fair Trade provided an opportunity to have my spending make a positive difference in the world.

Most children are taught the more obvious ways to help our world: turning off the tap when brushing their teeth and turning the lights off when they leave a room. Coming to understand what Fair Trade is all about, however, has changed my understanding of how people can make a difference.

BODYofBLOG-world-s-children-wall-hanging2I’m reading an incredibly moving book – one that has inspired me many times to stop and think about how fortunate we are to live in a country with strong infrastructure and social safety nets.

The book, entitled Haiti After the Earthquake, charts Haiti’s history, the events surrounding the quake itself, the aftermath, and most importantly, the dream of a rebuilt Haiti.

1-Boys and bowlAfter moments of less-than-stellar parenting, I will often quip, “There goes my Mother of the Year Award!”

But with Mother’s Day approaching, it always gives me pause to think about how I am doing as a Mom. Are my boys happy? How healthy are they? They look clean, but where’s that smell coming from? Do they laugh enough? Am I teaching them what it means to be socially responsible people? Are they learning the importance of generosity? Are they compassionate?