Bangladesh Artisans

Without our volunteers, we couldn’t do everything we do. Volunteers are essential to the mission of Ten Thousand Villages.

Our volunteers share their time on a weekly or monthly basis depending on their interest and availability. For some, it could be a half day every week, while others volunteer more or less. Herb and his wife, Shirley, have volunteered with Ten Thousand Villages since 2003. Initially, they volunteered 3 days a week but have since reduced their schedule to a half day once per week.

At Ten Thousand Villages, we are passionate about creating economic opportunities for our artisan partners, enabling them to build a better life for their families through fair trade. To accomplish our mission, we rely on caring, determined individuals who hold a deep respect for the artisans that we work with.

Our volunteers span all age ranges, come from diverse backgrounds, and share a wide variety of skills. Karen was an ESL teacher working part time with people from around the world. To fill her time she began volunteering, and now Karen enjoys educating customers with artisan stories and information about product in our stores.

According to Karen, her volunteer shifts tend to be consistent, unless it’s the Christmas season or particularly busy in the store. Karen, who has volunteered at the Waterloo location for 6 years, spends her shifts assisting with day-to-day store operations.

“I do a lot of restocking, customer service, unpacking new shipments, merchandising and reading about new products,” Karen said. Other duties include maintaining the store’s cleanliness, ringing in sales, and other tasks to help with store functions.

“There’s a lot of interacting with customers. You get to meet really nice people that are kind of in alignment with how you think. The best thing about volunteering with Ten Thousand Villages is when people come in and you get to educate them on the products and artisan stories. Maybe they are a returning customer, or maybe I’ve just enlightened someone!” chimed Janet.

Janet has volunteered with Ten Thousand Villages for approximately 10 years. She currently volunteers at the Waterloo location.

Volunteering at Head Office in New Hamburg is a bit different, however, as tasks vary from week to week. One day, you could be placing price stickers on the products, the next time you could be counting items. “Today, I’m counting marbles!” Rosemary smiled. Rosemary began volunteering 5 years ago. “I was shopping at the tent sale and I noticed a sign looking for volunteers. I’ve met so many new people, and you’re doing work that’s worthwhile! You’re making a difference. It’s important.”

Regardless of where our volunteers work within the organization or the paths they take to join us, our volunteers are the heart of our team. We couldn’t accomplish our mission without their support.

Interested in learning more about volunteering with Ten Thousand Villages? Click here.

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