Bangladesh Artisans

RyanIn December, I was asked to submit an article to Huffington Post Canada’s Impact Blog for consideration.

When I sat down to write, I immediately noticed that the words flowing from my fingertips were different than anything I had ever written.

And to be honest, the words scared me a little bit.

You see, at Ten Thousand Villages, we’re focused day in and day out on trying to create supply chains that put as much money as possible into the pockets of the talented artisans who make our products. We’re fully committed to what’s come to be known as a “fair trade” business model, and we proudly work within the “fair trade movement.”

Most of the time, we just go about our business, celebrating the positive changes we see happening in the families and communities where we make our purchases.

It’s pretty rare that I stop and consider that the opportunities our artisan partners experience – fair wages, long-term commitments, support for sustainable practices, etc. – are, sadly, far from the norm.

We take so much for granted in Canada. Things such as:

  • Strong infrastructure (e.g., stable governments, communication, roads, etc.)
  • Social safety nets (e.g., unemployment insurance, Canada Pension Plan)
  • Accessible healthcare options
  • Mandatory, free education for all children
  • Access to financing at low interest rates

For the vast majority of individuals who produce Ten Thousand Villages’ products, these things simply are not available.

I hope you will take a few moments to read the article, which was entitled: Become a Contemplative Consumer This Holiday Season. If it resonates for you, we would love if you would share it with your friends and family, and help us spread the word about how important it is for consumers to slow down and think about the impact of their purchases.

One final thing: For those of you who are loyal Ten Thousand Villages customers, THANK YOU! Thank you for being part of this global movement of contemplative consumers that’s making a meaningful difference in the lives of so many people around the world.


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