Bangladesh Artisans

Attendees of the WFTO Regional Meeting in San DiegoA few weeks ago, I had the privilege of attending this region’s meeting of World Fair Trade Organization (WFTO) members in San Diego.

The WFTO is not the only Fair Trade membership organization, but it’s the one with the broadest scope. Ten Thousand Villages is a founding member of this international organization, which brings producers and farmers together with those who import and sell their products all over the world.

Regardless of size and location, all members have an equal vote, and have the opportunity to shape the direction of the WFTO and the larger Fair Trade movement.

I won’t say too much today — but keep an eye out for more information about the WFTO in the coming weeks. This year marks a very special anniversary for the organization. We’re excited to celebrate with other WFTO members, and with the staff and volunteers who keep the WFTO and the movement strong.

njulu-deep-basket Background short fair-trade-a-human-journey-english Background short shea-butter-coconut-soap
Nujulu Deep Basket Fair Trade: A Human Journey Shea Butter Coconut Soap

Nosey Spectacle StandIf I had to narrow it down to just one word that I hear used most often to describe Ten Thousand Villages’ products, it’s “unique.”

Without a doubt, we specialize in bringing things to the Canadian market that you simply can’t find anywhere else.

Not only that, but when I look at reports on the items that are among our bestsellers, I’m consistently surprised by some of the items that are the most popular. Take our Nosey Spectacle Stand, for instance. It’s so incredibly popular – and has been for years – that we like to joke that pretty much everyone in Canada must have one!

In our office, you only need to refer to “the nose” and everyone knows exactly what you mean. (Pun totally intended.)

cakeI’m the assistant manager at Ten Thousand Villages on Henderson Highway in Winnipeg. I believe Fair Trade is important, and I want to share a recipe with you that incorporates some delicious Fair Trade ingredients we sell at our store!

A “flourless chocolate torte” sounds like it would be hard to make – but trust me, it’s actually quite easy.

Shortly after my husband and I were married two years ago, we decided to have some friends over to our apartment for a get-together. Being the new bride that I was, I wanted to impress my friends and family with a glorious dessert.

I had recently tried an amazing flourless chocolate torte at a local restaurant here in Winnipeg and absolutely fell in love with it. So I googled the recipe to see if I could find it. Sure enough, I discovered a recipe that looked quite similar. After tweaking it a bit to make it more Fair Trade-friendly, I came up with the perfect recipe! It was a hit among my friends, and it’s been a favorite in my family ever since! It’s gluten-free, vegetarian-friendly, and it uses some great Fair Trade products you can pick up at your local Ten Thousand Villages store. I hope you’ll give it a try. I promise… you’ll love it!

yes 0There’s no doubt that the work I get to be a part of at Ten Thousand Villages is inspiring. And yet, as with any job, from time to time, we can all use a tangible reminder about why we do what we do.

In September 2013, we invited Moses and Esther from Kaki Creations in Kenya to join us for our national store manager workshops. They shared stories about life in Kenya and the good work they’re doing there. It was an amazing opportunity for staff to meet some of our artisan partners, and to hear firsthand about the business they’re building and the contributions they’re making to strengthen their community.

TOP photo - twitter screencapFor the past few months, there have been some powerful images circling around the internet depicting scenes of extreme poverty or disaster, while a dozen anonymous onlookers give the horrific scene a thumbs-up. The message is hammered home in the tagline: “Liking isn’t helping. Be a volunteer.”

I’ve seen these images pop up on social media every couple weeks since their appearance in February. Ironically, while Facebook likes may not be directly helping the global poor, it certainly is helping this ad campaign. Without the viral appeal of the images, developed for Crisis Relief Singapore, the call to action would never have been heard.