Bangladesh Artisans
cards

Whether it’s a birthday, a wedding or a baby shower, Salay Handmade Paper has a card for the occasion. Founded in 1987, Loreta Rafisura, a nurse turned entrepreneur and her husband, started Salay Handmade Paper to provide employment for the people of Salay in the Philippines. Through experimentation, they developed their trademark handmade paper using cogon grass, a weed that interferes with local farming. Today, Salay Handmade Paper works with almost 400 makers who craft cards, nativities and journals from cogon grass. Besides a fair wage and pensions, makers also share in the profits.

In addition to transforming the lives of people, Salay Handmade Paper also works to help protect and preserve the environment. According to Salay Handmade Paper, tree cutting for commercial purposes had left hundreds of hectares of land in Matampa, one of the mountainous villages in Salay, bare since the 1970s. With a passion and determination to improve the environment, Salay Handmade Paper had their first organized tree planting mission in Matampa in May 2010 on World Fair Trade Day (WFTD). 350 makers working with Salay helped to plant 500 pine trees!

tree planting 2010

In 2017, they committed to planting 500 more trees.

tree planting

Nine years later, there are now tons of pine trees and tourists are attracted to Matampa since pine trees are rarely seen in this coastal province. Thanks to these tree planting missions, Salay Handmade Paper has enhanced the land, air and soil. So far this year, they have planted 700 pine trees. They are hoping to plant a total of 2,000 trees by the end of the year!

tree planting 2019

With every purchase of a Salay Handmade Paper product, you are not only improving the lives of people in the Philippines; you are also helping to improve the environment. Visit our website to find the perfect handmade card for your next social event.

It’s no secret that the commercial tanning process for leather is hazardous. Not only is leather tanned with compounds that are harmful to the environment, but this chemical process is also damaging to the health of the people working in the leather production industry.

Yellow purse

Many of our bags, purses and wallets are handcrafted using eco-leather by makers working with the Craft Resource Centre (CRC). CRC is a fair trade resource and marketing centre in India that tans their leather products without using harmful chemicals. In other words, instead of using azo dyes, formaldehyde and other harmful substances, eco-leather is tanned using environmentally-friendly materials derived from sustainable tea bark extracts and waxes.

Indro at Ten Thousand Villages store

Indro Dasgupta is the director of CRC and we were fortunate to spend time with him this past spring. During his visit with us, he outlined the eco-leather process. He explained that since the government in India has banned the use of cow in the production of leather, CRC eco-leather products are made with water buffalo. The water buffalo are first used for milk and meat, and then the skin, which would typically be considered waste, is sold to CRC for the production of leather. In other words, no animals are killed for the purpose of making leather. CRC is simply upcycling the waste produced by other industries.

Leather hide drying

Indro also explained that after the raw hide is collected, it is tanned with eco-friendly materials on a drumming machine and then it’s set out to dry. Once the leather is dry, it is then waxed, shined and sprayed. Finally, the leather is assembled into beautiful purses, wallets and bags.

Mallika

Mallika Manjari De is a quality checker and packer working with CRC. She is 28 years old and has been working with CRC for almost two years. When asked about how her life has changed since working with CRC, she said, “Life was difficult. I found it difficult to make ends meet. Now, I am able to buy necessities for my home.”

Brown purse

Eco-leather is more than a fashion choice; it’s a way to better the environment and improve the lives of people like Mallika. Browse our handcrafted eco-leather collection online.

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What looks like an egg, is as hard as rock, and has the superhuman ability to help save endangered elephants and rainforests?

Say hello to tagua, the seed of a palm tree found in South American tropical countries ranging from Ecuador to northwestern Brazil. Commonly known as ivory palms or tagua palms, these trees’ scientific name means, “plant ivory.”

Rebecca-bananaYou know you’re in for a great conference when someone runs on stage dressed as a banana. And it’s even better when you get to model this banana costume yourself later that day!

From January 14 to 16, I, along with some Ten Thousand Villages colleagues, attended the Canadian Fair Trade Network 2015 conference. This year’s theme was ‘Engage,’ and the aforementioned banana costume was just one of many highlights from this annual event.

 

 

 

spin_rice_thumb“It’s virtually impossible to grasp … the challenges these people surmount to get a rice crop planted, harvested, and brought to market,” says Stacey Toews, Co-Founder & Communications Catalyst at Level Ground Trading, one of Ten Thousand Villages’ long-term partners.

UNESCO declared the Philippine Rice Terraces a World Heritage Site in 1995 within the “living cultural landscape” category. People of the Ifugao ethnic group have occupied and grown rice on these terraces for more than 2,000 years.

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.

Soccer BallThis coming Sunday is Father’s Day, and I’m feeling a little sentimental.

I don’t generally get excited about holidays – but for some reason, this year feels different.

My father has been experiencing some health issues, so I’ve been reflecting a lot lately on the many happy memories I have of my childhood. For example, when the Toronto Blue Jays made it to the World Series, he was that Dad who bought the maximum number of tickets you were allowed to purchase. My sister and I invited a bunch of our friends to join us for a once-in-a-lifetime experience that I’ll never forget.

Level Ground Tea GardenMany people are unaware that a commitment to sustainability is built right into the World Fair Trade Organization’s 10 Principles of Fair Trade.

Principle #10, “Respect for the Environment,” includes the following thoughts:

Organizations which produce Fair Trade products maximize the use of raw materials from sustainably managed sources in their ranges, buying locally when possible. They use production technologies that seek to reduce energy consumption and where possible use renewable energy technologies that minimize greenhouse gas emissions. They seek to minimize the impact of their waste stream on the environment. Fair Trade agricultural commodity producers minimize their environmental impacts, by using organic or low pesticide use production methods wherever possible.