During the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, many people are doing their shopping at all the usual places without even thinking twice about where it is coming from. Most of our goods that are purchased in big box stores are imported from third world countries and made in sweatshops where workers are underpaid and overworked. This is a harsh reality that we tend not to think about regularly, but there is something we can do. While you may not commit to buying everything fair trade, making some small changes for some of the things you buy can make big changes for others in the world and even locally if you are willing to become aware.
Buying fair trade is a way to help women and children make a living for themselves by paying them fair wages for their work so they do not have to live in poverty. If you are at a loss for where to start, try checking out the website, https://www.chicagofairtrade.org. It was formed in 2006 and has since garnered 70 business, institutional, and individual members. These members come from all walks of life all with the same focus in life which is to use fair trade to help end poverty by “providing opportunity for economically disadvantaged producers, cultivating transparent trade partnerships, ensuring safe working conditions and the rights of women and children, and focusing on environmental sustainability through all stages of production” https://www.chicagofairtrade.org/about-us-1. Below you will find a short list of some of their vendors, their websites and what the shop specializes in; for a complete list of business, members follow this link, https://www.chicagofairtrade.org/business-members.
1. Huaywasi: Light and Leadership, https://www.huaywasi.com/ – Fashion Apparel & Accessories, Home Décor
2. The Little Traveler, https://www.littletraveler.com/ – Fashion Accessories, Apparel, Home Decor, Housewares, Fair Trade Food
3. Global Elements, http://thegetcompany.com/ – Home Decor, Gift
4. ABBY ALLEY, https://www.abbyalley.com/ – Fashion Apparel & Accessories, Home Decor, General Gift
5. The Bean Caffe/Awake, https://artisansofghana.com/ – Food & Beverage
6. Blossom Inspirations, https://blossominspirations.com/ – Fashion Apparel & Accessories, Home Decor, Babies & Kids, General Gift
7. Ten Thousand Villages in Evanston and Oak Park, IL, – https://www.tenthousandvillages.com/evanston#fndtn-home & https://www.tenthousandvillages.com/oakpark#fndtn-home – Home Decor, Fashion Apparel & Accessories, Food & Beverage, Bath & Beauty, Kids & Baby, General Gift
8. SUSU Accessories, https://www.susuaccessories.com/ – Fashion Apparel & Accessories
9. MayaWorks, http://www.mayaworks.org/ – Fashion Apparel & Accessories, Home Décor
10. Grain of Rice Project, https://grainofriceproject.org/ – Fashion Apparel & Accessories, Home Décor
The impact that you have with your money is very significant. When doing your holiday, birthday, special occasion or just because shopping, remember that there is a human being and a story attached to what you are buying. You have the power to provide a decent wage for someone and their hard work if you so choose even if it may cost you a little extra right up front. We get what we put out in this universe, so let’s start to live with an abundant mindset!
By, Garcsa Brooks
Olive Branch Counseling Associates, Inc.