Activities · Events

World Fair Trade Celebrations 2016

The Fair Trade Day is not only for fair traders. It is for everyone who believes in positive change through Fair Trade. We celebrate the World Fair Trade Day with all ‘Agents For Change’. Message from Rudi Dalvai, President, WFTO  “The concept of Fair Trade and its principles create an enabling environment especially for those… Continue reading World Fair Trade Celebrations 2016

Activities · Interns

My Stint at Fair Trade Forum – India

A Special write up from our intern, Mr Rohit, IIFT

As part of the Indian Institute of Foreign Trade (IIFT) NGO Partnership program students were required to choose an NGO from the list of participating NGOs in the program. I chose Fair Trade Forum-India out of many options. The reason I chose FTF-I was that I thought that as the NGO has something to do with ‘trade’, this would align more closely with what we are learning and practicing at IIFT, Delhi. Little did I know at that time that FTF-I (part of Fair Trade International world community) was much more than trade. It is doing something truly different than most of the other NGOs.

The first day, we met the staff and we were surprised to see our 3 week schedule was already prepared with the objectives and deliverables. My work, quite aligned to my profile, dealt with preparing a compendium on research papers and literature on Fair Trade which will be of help to FTF-I in preparing the Fair Trade Status Report.

Apart from that the 2 of us had to prepare a Shopping Guide for the customers who have an eye for Fair Trade products. In it we prepared the pitching material for the producer and marketing organization linked to FTF-India.

Fair Trade is quite different from the Free Trade. Most of us would have heard about the WTO, the nodal organization for the promotion of free trade. Fair Trade International and World Fair Trade Organisation work in Fair Trade domain. Fair trade traces its beginnings to the ideas propounded by Max Havelaar and Barrett.

You would be wondering what really is Fair Trade….?

Fair Trade, contrary to free market hypothesis, focuses on the well-being, both socially and economically, of the workers and producers working away at the bottom of the pyramid in South countries. It seeks to protect the artisans, producers, vendors and others from the vagaries of free-trade price shocks by building long term and organic relationships between the North Consumers and South Producers. It seeks to incorporate a meaningful social premium while pricing the goods. In achieving its objectives, it makes sure that the products satisfy the environmental standards and child labour standards and social justice is rendered. Fair Trade Forum-India is part of the Asian Chapter of World Fair Trade Organisation. Apart from certifying various manufacturing, producing and marketing organizations as Fair Trade complying, it also conducts regular workshops, Fair Trade Fests and Trade Fairs in order to find new ethical consumers for the products and spread the message to every nook and cranny of our country. From time to time it has looked for new partnerships, especially with E-commerce ventures and online marketers in order to keep up with the present times of digital age and is trying to use the online medium to raise more awareness about the Fair Trade.

From the list of members of FTF I, we could learn that most of the FTOs are doing a tremendous job at hand. They really are creating some niche products from the ethically sought and merrily provided labour of artisans, farmers, handicraft makers, weavers, workers and countless others

In order to fill some verve and excitement we were given an option to visit some of the Fair Trade Shops (I almost forgot to add FTF shops. This is an initiative to bring Fair Trade products in limelight and an attempt to mainstream the products into conventional markets.) Nikhil and I lapped up this opportunity and visited Aprajita Trust in Qutab Institutional Area and MESH (Maximizing Employment to Serve the Handicapped) shop near Ansal Plaza in Delhi.

IIFT, with Mr Gulati.PNG
Aparjita Store, Qutab Institutional Area, Delhi

The former is a shop run by Aprajita Trust, sheltered in the serene surroundings of Qutab Institutional Area and the Sanjay Van. From the discussion we had with the shop manager we could gather that the shop acted as a nodal point for exporting and selling handicrafts sought from weavers and artisans to business clients.

IIFT at MESH.PNG
MESH shop at Uday Park, New Delhi

On the other hand, MESH shop seeks most of its products from people afflicted with leprosy and differently-abled people. The shop manager, himself afflicted with leprosy, was the most joyous and active person I have had seen in my life. He is the epitome of hardwork who in many ways is responsible for the oft-quoted cliché: where there is will there is a way… A polite request for a mugshot was enough to persuade him to stand by our side and smile in his disarming way.

 Cheers to the life and Fair Trade Forum India! Smile for the shutterbugs please….

Activities

Members celebrated International Women’s Day

From women’s suffrage to equal parenting and representation in politics, International Women’s Day (IWD) has celebrated the social, cultural, economic and political achievements of women for more than 100 years.

Giving a break to all the artisans of Creative Handicrafts organized a special screening of the film Gulabi Gang, on the occasion of International Women’s Day at the Holy Spirit Hospital Auditorium from 03:00 PM to 05:00 PM.

The film has got the National Film Awards for the Best Film on Social Issues to Director Nishtha Jain and Producers Pirya Film, Raintree films, Final CUT for Real.

Our member based in Delhi, MESH, organized Women’s Day posters and signature campaign at the MESH shop Delhi in Uday Park.

MESH-IWD 2.jpg

mesh-iwd-1.jpg

On the day, Sasha, Kolkata celebrated, reflection, advocacy and action, both locally and at a global level with, with a film screening, poetry recitation and a sumptuous brunch with the women of Sasha at Sasha Shop.

Member based in Rajasthan, SETU-The Bridge to The Artisans, distributed Solar Lanterns to the Women artisans of their Embroidery and Applique Group based at Barmer.

SETU.jpg

Activities

Artisans helping the community children in getting education: MESH

Group of jewelry makers from MESH has decided to use their profits for the education of poor children in their neighborhoods. These are children who might not afford good education or basic education due to lack of funds and facilities and so these designers have come forward with a helping hand to provide basic education to these deprived kids and help them make a good life.

MESH.PNG

Activities · Exhibitions

MESH participates in AWA Holiday Mela at American Embassy School

MESH got the opportunity to participate in the AWA Holiday Mela on November 01st, 2015 at the American Embassy School, Chankyapuri, New Delhi.

The AWA Mela directly helps more than 50 NGO’s from Delhi/NCR in its outreach support program. The NGO’s were allowed to display their items like crafts gifts, jewellery, apparel, furniture and plants.

This event also included delicious food across the world and craft and fun activities for the children. This was followed by cultural activities like live band performances to add fun to the program.
To give you a reminder, MESH is an Indian organisation practicing Fair Trade with disabled and leprosy affected crafts artisans, for their rehabilitation. We have shops in New Delhi and Hyderabad and work with disabled artisans from all over India. MESH works with a mission to provide opportunities for disabled and people affected by leprosy to achieve social and economic integration by trading. They works to train disabled people to produce goods, assist in obtaining raw materials, MESH ensures prompt payment for goods to provide constant cash flow and working capital for continued production.

Activities · Exhibitions

Diwali Bazaar at Blind Relief Association

MESH participated in the Diwali Bazaar organized by Blind Relief Association from 02nd to 08th November, 2015. MESH showcased their beautiful handmade products with the presence in the mela from 05th to 08th November, 2015 at CGO Complex, Lodhi Road, New Delhi. A variety of items ranging from cloths, accessories, stalls, candles, diyas, home décor and other gifting items were displayed at the stall. The Blind Relief Association focuses on providing education and training to the visually challenged people, enabling them to realize their potential and be self reliant.