The struggles of third world countries are a well known problem to most people, but what to do to help these countries is much more difficult to understand. I definitely don’t have all the answers on how to eliminate poverty around the world, but I do know of one way to make a small difference in the lives of the African people.
Many African villages don’t even have some of the most basic necessities such as running water, electricity, proper sanitation, education, healthcare and the list goes on. Many times women and children in these situations tend to suffer the most. One way that these terrible conditions are improving is through trade and especially fair trade. By purchasing beautiful handcrafted art from Africa, we not only get incredibly beautiful items for our home décor, but we also help to improve the lives of others.
Fair trade can make a tremendous impact on African communities. Such an impact is created because fair trade approaches development as a holistic process. Many African lives have been positively changed through this process. Children are able to get an education, nutritional needs are being met, fundamental healthcare costs are being covered, hospitals and schools are being built, the poor (especially women) are being empowered and are becoming valued members of their societies, cultural techniques are being revived and so much more.
So how does fair trade work? Buyers and producers work directly with each other to develop commercial relationships, trust and mutual support. Both the buyers and the producers adhere to a set of Fair Trade criteria established by the International Fair Trade federation. Both the buyer and the producer group agree to promote human rights, especially those of women, children and people with disabilities. As buyers and producers meet milestones, they are expected to continuously improve upon these standards. When trade encompasses these practices, the lives of all people and their communities improve.
Fair trade is the right way to shop. It puts a smile on the faces of children in Africa, and it makes their lives much more bearable. If you are interested in purchasing African art, you may want to make sure that the business you are dealing with adheres to the fair trade policies or sources their products from companies that are members of the Fair Trade Federation.