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Celebrating World Fair Trade Day

Last update - Thursday, May 6, 2010, 13:28 By Metro Éireann

On 8 May, thousands of artisans, farmers and supporters around the world will celebrate World Fair Trade Day.

Fair trade provides under- and unemployed artisans and farmers with an opportunity to earn vital income and improve their quality of life by providing a sustainable market for their products.
It’s really rewarding to see the positive results of fair trade, creating additional opportunity for marginalised producers and improving their lives, and the lives of their families and communities.
The women of Ibumila village in south-central Tanzania make traditional ‘Iringa’-style baskets in their homes, but the remote location makes it difficult to sell and distribute their products.
With the profits earned by selling their baskets to fair trade buyers, the women have been able to invest in several bicycles which make transporting their baskets much easier, and Oxfam Ireland is assisting them further this year by enabling them to show their products at the national Saba Saba fair in the capital Dar es Salaam.
In Agra, India, RC Marble is a small family stone-carving business run by three brothers. Partnerships with fair trade buyers have enabled the company to move to larger premises that include improved health and safety features for their workers.
Also thanks to fair trade, the children of RC Marble workers now have the opportunity to attend specialist after-school computer classes, hopefully assisting them in future education and in getting good jobs.
In Tanzabia, the Minja family live on the slopes of Mount Kilimanjaro and carve decorative wood objects using a unique ‘burning’ technique. Mr Minja Sr, 84, has passed down this technique to his five sons and their sons, and the entire family works together.
Fair trade partnerships have provided the family with a covered communal space they can work in during the rainy season, increasing the quantity of products they can make. Oxfam Ireland is also providing them with English language and business skills training and they will also be participating at the Saba Saba fair later in the year to show off their products to a wider audience.
On World Fair Trade Day, I give a big thank you to everyone who has purchased fair trade products – and an invitation to everyone else to check out a fair trade alternative the next time you are looking for a gift, a treat for yourself, or food for your family. You’ll get a great product, and know that at the same time you’re making a difference.

Margaret Carr
Fair trade manager, Oxfam Ireland

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