Traidcraft - January 2017

The Traidcraft Christmas sale on November 15th was all we had hoped for in our last sale. We could not sum it up better than Bob Philpott who wrote of enjoying 'the wonderful company and the sheer joy of the occasion, knowing that our purchases are helping our neighbours in far off lands.' The takings on the day were £1,777.00.

One of the things I have admired about the way Traidcraft operate is that I have been able to introduce you to the actual people who have benefited from particular Traidcraft projects. So I thought in my final article I would pick out 3 characters who have specially stood out for me.

The first is from some time ago, and I can't even remember his name. 'Get Paper Industries' is a Traidcraft partner company in Nepal who make beautiful hand made paper. One of their early projects was to make a plantation of trees in a beautiful place. The trees improved the environment and also gave the people of the community a lovely place to relax. My first character was an old man who was the gatekeeper of the plantation. He was elderly and had never had a job before in his life. He loved and cherished the plantation and greeted all those who came to enjoy it giving real joy as he grew older.

My second character is Josna. We learnt about her when we had the special campaign of 2015 and the Fair Necessities Appeal (do you remember the Smarties?) Josna lives in Bangladesh and worked hard on her land to produce vegetables, but the land was so poor that she hardly had enough to feed her children. She was then introduced to a Traidcraft scheme where she learnt how to fertilise and irrigate her crop and she was given proper tools for the job. The following year the crop was seven times greater. This meant she could not only feed all the family but there were vegetables to sell so she had money to provide for basic necessities – schooling, a proper house, different types of food and eventually even electricity.

The third person is Mohammad Abdur Rahim also from Bangladesh. From childhood he had to work to support his sick parents and three young sisters. He was the only breadwinner and so was not able to go to school. His wages were so poor that they lived on small quantities of rice. Then he married and had two sons. He had to support his sisters and was the only one working to try to provide for ten in the family. He says “when I was standing at the edge of my life, Traidcraft came into our lives like a light.” He was given some tea plants and training sessions so he now has what he calls a tea garden. Within 3 years his life had completely changed. The children were able to go to school, they all could buy new clothes, they were able to supplement their rice with eggs, chicken, fish and he has now been able to build a house and buy a bed. “I have never imagined that a tea plant could bring such change to so many peoples' lives.”

Thank you, Minchinhampton. You have been marvellous supporters, so generous in your buying and giving and so appreciative to me personally. I could not have asked for a better place to be a Fairtrader! Finally, thank you to my amazing team who have supported me in everything I have done. I shall really miss working with you all. I know you have a wonderful future.

Clare Cooper