Bangladesh Artisans

Ten Thousand Villages Finger PuppetsGiven that our holiday campaign tagline is ’Tis the Reason, we thought it might be fun to ask a few of our younger shoppers to answer a question:

“What is the reason you like to shop at Ten Thousand Villages?”

We received a number of really great responses, and here are some of our favourites:

“Camels.” (boy, age 5) – He felt that all nativities should have camels, and Ten Thousand Villages is the place to find them!

cheeky-monkeyWeekday mornings at my house can be quite crazy! One of the most common discussions (and, might I say, whining?) surrounds the topic of what my children will eat for breakfast.

The dilemma isn’t what we have in the house to eat. Quite the contrary! The problem is deciding what they would like to select from the multiple options available to them.

8600465534_0cdaf87863_z (3)As part of the “What I Want My Daughter to Know” series, I’m sharing on behalf of Ten Thousand Villages today – and thrilled for the opportunity to share my heart on what I want my daughter to know about fair trade.

Child, these days we’re doing our best to teach you to play with others. You’re pretty good for your twenty-six months of experience, but playtime is often a losing battle when combining multiple two-year-olds and a room full of toys. Regardless of what you already have in your hand, it always seems that what your friend has is what you want. There are howls and tears and pinching and chaos when the situation seems unfair. Even we adults can be so embarrassingly loud, pitching fits when we feel that life isn’t fair to us.

P1060049There are many inspirational stories of individuals, groups and organizations tirelessly working for a better world, and for the fair and equitable treatment of all people. The world is riddled with challenges, but we can help to change things for the better by the actions we take every day.

A compelling quote by Jacques Diouf inspired and challenged me to reassess how I want to contribute to a more just world: “Hunger is not an issue of charity. It is an issue of justice.” It’s about the choices we make on a daily basis and the positive or negative effects they have on other human beings, the planet and other living creatures.

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.

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?