africa · Intentional Living · Reviews

When Purchases Have Power {Fair Trade Friday}

I love to cook.

As such, I have on kinda crazy obsession: aprons!

Now, in all honesty, I only own 3 aprons (two of which I’ve gotten this summer). But I love, love, LOVE aprons and could spend hours on Etsy drooling over amazing aprons. It’s only my budget and the fact that I’m moving into a tiny house that keeps my apron purchasing to a minimum.

So imagine my delight when I opened my Fair Trade Friday box to find a gorgeous, handmade apron from Rwanda! Not only did I love the apron’s frilly design, but the patterns from Africa overwhelmed me with joy. Even though I lived in South Africa, and the colors and patterns were different, it was so reminiscent of the joyous colors of the various South African cultural fabrics that I immediately fell in love with it.

IMG_4708

You see, I cook, can, bake, and make soap, all of which require an apron, if you’re messy like me. And when I pulled that out of my Fair Trade Friday box, I felt as if it had been packed specifically for me. I mean, I like jewelry and all, and handmade soaps and such are cool. Tote bags and wallets are useful. But aprons? That’s the thing that’ll get me all on board with anything!

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As I unpacked the box, I saw a card attached to the apron, with information about the women and organization who made the apron. You can buy a pretty apron almost anywhere: walmart, target, the hardware store on Main Street (well, in small town Iowa, anyways), or on Etsy. But it’s a whole other thing when you get one that’s fair trade, sewed by women who you get to know through a card packed with your apron. Women whose lives are being changed by a simple purchase.

My apron was made by a young women at No. 41 in Rwanda. This organization was founded when a orphanage realized it had a number of young women, over 18 years old, living there who had no way of paying for college and getting a good job. So they started making beautiful products, selling them to provide for themselves. Several of the women have since moved out of the orphanage and are able to support themselves through fair trade.

Without Fair Trade Friday, I never would’ve known about these women, or struggles they face. I wouldn’t have known about their successes, nor about the freedom they’ve found through fair trade. This is the power of a purchase through Fair Trade Friday. 

FTF jewelry
Photo credit: Fair Trade Friday

Our dollars have power. Too often they are used to oppress and support an unsustainable system.

But through fair trade, they can be used to encourage and build up. To bless and life a family out of poverty, one item at a time.

Our dollars can be used to break the cycle of poverty that traps millions around the world.

change the world
Photo credit: Fair Trade Friday

So what can you do?

You can join the club! Yes, there is a waitlist right not, but join anyways! A waitlist empowers Fair Trade Friday to sign more contracts with women around the world, so go ahead and join! You’ll get a Fair Trade Friday box full of goodies from various countries, and you won’t be disappointed. Or you can join the Earring of the Month club, which ships you one pair of fair trade earrings each month. You can also purchase directly from the Fair Trade Friday through Mercy House Kenya.

Photo credit: Fair Trade Friday
Photo credit: Fair Trade Friday

Maybe purchasing isn’t in your budget this month. I get that! But you can spread the word. Share this post, and tell your friends about fair trade. Because your words have power, and that power can inspire change in the most unexpected ways!

-Jen

Photo credit: Fair Trade Friday
Photo credit: Fair Trade Friday

 

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