Supporters of Fair Trade will celebrate the successes of the emerging and empowering economic model in more than 70 countries next weekend, including here in Indianapolis.
Sunday, May 10 is the local stop for the Partners for Just Trade "Resonating Change: Connecting Communities through Fair Trade" tour. PJT, a non-profit, Fair Trade organization that cultivates global partnerships, will be at Global Gifts on Massachusetts Avenue with two Peruvian women, jeweler Evangelina Pizzaro and knitter Ayde Riveros, whose products PJT has helped place into the hands of U.S. consumers.
"There are literally thousands of Evangelina Pizarros and Ayde Riveroses around the world today," says PJT Executive Director Carrie Hawthorne. "What many people do not know is that about three out of four people who make Fair Trade products today are women."
Hawthorne continues, "The dignified work made possible by Fair Trade means that these women often are able to lift themselves and their families out of poverty. Consumers need to understand that when they support Fair Trade they literally are helping to empower women all across the world."
Pizarro and Riveros will be in Indianapolis to provide firsthand accounts of how the purchase of Fair Trade products directly improves the lives of farmers and artisans in the global south.
Speaking for the touring artisans, Pizzaro says, "Fair Trade has reunited me with my children and given me a quality of life that I have never known before.
"When I left my village in the Andes at age 17 in search of a better life, I worked in a jewelry factory in Lima nearly 80 hours a week and earned only $115 a month. Even though I was raising two children alone, I was locked in the factory each day until the managers decided it was OK for the workers to go home. I was forced to live much of the time apart from my children.
"After seven years of this, I broke off with other workers to form our own business," Pizzaro continues.
"That first attempt failed, but my second try through Fair Trade led to the creation of Munay Rumi, which now produces jewelry items for export."
The local visit is part of a national tour called "Resonating Change: Connecting Communities through Fair Trade," a three-week, 10-city national tour sponsored by Green America and Partners for Just Trade. Here in Indianapolis, Global Gifts is a local sponsor of the tour.
"Global Gifts is committed to doing what we can to build bridges of understanding between consumers and producers," says Sam Carpenter, Global Gifts general manager. "We are pleased to have Evangelina and Ayde visit Global Gifts so our supporters can learn firsthand how their fair trade purchases make a difference in the lives of our producer partners."
"Fair Trade offers hope and opportunity to millions of people by paying a fair price for goods and helping producers invest in and grow their businesses," Carpenter says. "With over $1 billion in sales annually, Fair Trade is a movement that is having significant impact on how we shop and the impact our purchases have on people and the planet," Carpenter adds.