A fabulous surprise arrived at my house last week!! It was a gift from Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. Upon opening the box and card, I found that I had been listed as one of the top ten bloggers, thus received a beautiful gift , courtesy of "Ten Thousand Villages"- a gorgeous shawl handmade in India and a chocolate bar, both Free Trade.
What is "Ten Thousand Villages"??? You may have heard of this wonderful organization!
For more than 65 years, , Ten Thousand Villages had been establishing long term buying relationships in places where skilled artisans lack the opportunities for a stable income. These countries are generally needy, with poor employment opportunities. This organization's commitment to support artisans around the globe has been strengthened through free trade compensation practices- they include cash advances and prompt payments.
In Canada, Ten Thousand Villages is a non profit program of the Mennonite Central Committee Canada. This is one of this country's largest international relief and development agencies. They have combined the concept of free trade with healthy and environmentally sustainable business practices. From store operations to product sourcing to marketing practices, They strive to meet the needs of many people in these needy countries to provide a business and regular income.
Founded in 1946 , Thousand Villages has grown from the trunk of Founder, Edna Byler's car to more than 120 retail outlets and 150 festival sales throughout North America. It has become a shopping opportunity for unique homemade gifts, jewellery, decor, art and sculpture and personal accessories made by Artisans in Asia, Latin America and the Middle East. This program is one of the world's largest fair trade organizations and continually strives to improve the livelihood of tens of thousands of disadvantaged artisans in 35 countries, providing them with food, education, healthcare and housing. Otherwise this people would be unemployed or underemployed.
Every year, my husband and myself attend a Christmas bazaar run by this organization, held in a local area church in Nov. Here, we find many gifts for others and fun, unique and very different items. You know when you make a purchase, you are helping someone who is very needy, however needs the opportunity to share their talent with those who willingly and eagerly buy the products. Of course, we always see something , that we just HAVE to have!!
I did take some photos and would like to share these with you. A great time in a great environment, helping others!! The best feeling in the world!!
If you wish to learn more about this wonderful program, just go to the following link: www.tenthousandvillages.ca .
Truly a wonderful experience to go shopping in this environment, knowing that the $ you spend, are going directly to the people in need.