Ten Thousand Villages

Who doesn’t like a good cup of coffee?

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When I was a kid I didn’t understand why “grown ups” liked that bitter taste.  Fast forward to being in my late teens, a sweet specialty coffee was delicious to me!  Zoom ahead again to today.  While I like my occasional white chocolate mocha, a good ole unsweetened latte is where its at!  I haven’t quite graduated to the level one of my best friends is at (an Americano with no room and an extra shot), but I do know a good cup of coffee from a bad.  I strive to make sure my homemade cup of coffee is like my dedication to the gym and KD. . .  STRONG!

 

 

Coffee however is just one thing amongst thousands we benefit from that can easily come from slave labor.  Ten Thousand Villages knows this.  Providing more than just coffee, this organization is on the fast track to help artisans and farmers in developing countries provide for their families and their community by creating long term relationships through fair trade partnerships.  Selling soaps, blankets, candles, jewelry, bags, scarves, coffee, tea, chocolate, and home decor (plus so much more) that in turn help families, victims of sex trafficking, those with physical disabilities or amputations, and so many others.

 

While I sit writing this, drinking my Tanzanian organic coffee made by Helena, I am truly proud to be writing about such an inspirational organization.  Let’s help them make an impact in our growing world by giving them our time and business!

 

 

P.S. Don’t forget to keep scrolling to see my recent haul of goodies from TTV!

 

 

Its organizations like this that inspire me.

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Ten Thousand Villages is a non-profit organization that has a very specific mission:

 

Create opportunities for artisans in developing countries to earn income by bringing their products and stories to our markets through long term, fair trading relationships.

 

Established since 1946, Ten Thousand Villages really is like a breath of fresh air.  They are dedicated to make a change in developing countries by giving hope, dignity, opportunity and safety to the people there.  This is done by working with over 20,000 artisans from the 27 countries who they partner with.

 

Lets talk about how they form a relationship with each artisan. . .

 

When the artisan and Ten Thousand Villages collaborate, they mutually agree on a price for the merchandise that follows the Principles of The World Fair Trade Organization in terms of payment of a fair price:

 

A fair price in the regional or local context is one that has been agreed upon through dialogue and participation. It covers not only the costs of production but enables production which is socially just and environmentally sound. It provides fair pay to the producers and takes into account the principle of equal pay for equal work by women and men. Fair traders ensure prompt payment to their partners and, whenever possible, help producers with access to pre-harvest or pre-production financing.

 

Ten Thousand Villages will send payment to the artisan in advance so that they can pay for any materials, workers, and production of their designs.  This gives the artisan more freedom and less stress to get the job done.  By the time you buy a pair of earrings from TTV, you can be sure that the artisan has already been paid in full for their craftsmanship.  You are merely paying TTV back for what they purchased the merchandise for!

 

A beautiful fact that Ten Thousand Villages is dedicated to, is preserving the cultures and traditions of each artisan.  While they share with the artisan current trends and styles that those of us here in North America enjoy, they ensure that the craftsmanship which has been handed down for generations is not forgotten, but instead highlighted by reinforcing those rich cultural traditions in each design.  They embrace each culture, preserving the rich traditions they come from.

 

Ten Thousand Villages believes in long term relationships with each artisan.  Think about what it would be like to be without a consistent job you can rely on.  You may get the odd work here or there, but you can never feel stable since you never know when you will find work again.  Ten Thousand Villages ensures that the artisans they partner with can plan ahead and feel stable financially, knowing that their trade with the organization is not a one time deal but instead a long lasting partnership with plenty of opportunity for work in the future.  This way, they can get education for their children, hire more workers if needed (who can in turn take care of their families), and provide a warm home with food on the table to keep their families healthy.  All this without fear of it being ripped away.

 

This is an organization that has been, and continues to, do good by changing the lives of thousands upon thousands of people.

 

I could go on for a very long time telling you about how amazing TTV is and give more detail into the work they do, but it would take a very long time.  So instead I encourage you to head on over to their website and explore!  You can find there a map with all the countries where the artisans they work with are, as well as detailed descriptions of each artisan and what makes them significant.

 

A few of my goodies. . .

 

COFFEE!!!  Each bag actually has more, and costs less than other leading brands of coffee!  If you find that buying ethically and fair trade can cause a dent in your wallet, try to make a switch in your coffee!  Any bit of support speaks volumes.

A medium roast made by Helena and her family in Tanzania.  And a dark roast from Jamie in Columbia!

 

These natural soaps are about fighting sex trafficking.  Crafted by brave women who have decided to turn away from their previous lives in the red-light district, each bar helps them to establish a better life for themselves with an alternative way of making a living.

 

 

Both of these mugs are beautifully crafted in Vietnam.  The blue mug is a favourite of mine.  Made by Craft Link, it is one of the many projects that their employees have inspired!  Some of those employees victims of Agent Orange.

 

 

These earrings all have their own stories, come from different countries, and individually have a unique elegance to them.

 

 

Both the silver and gold wrap rings are hammered by people with physical disabilities in Kenya.

 

Due to land mines, Cambodia has one of the highest rates of amputees in the world.  The Rajana artisan group collects those bombshell casings and transforms them into works of art promoting peace, like this beautiful brass ring 

 

 

 

Let’s be bold and run against the currents.

Be a voice in raising awareness for groups like Ten Thousand Villages who long to help those in developing countries.  And not because its a trend, but because its the right thing to do.

 

xoxo

 

Rachel

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