Friday, May 10, 2013

World Fair Trade Day - Every Day!

World Fair Trade Day, Every Day!

               In recognition of World Fair Trade Day, we at Alaffia join over 70 nations around the world to reflect and recognize the importance of this global movement. We celebrate fair trade and the opportunity it provides as we focus on the shared goal of empowering individuals and alleviating poverty in global communities around the world. In our own co-ops, fair trade has meant the alleviation of poverty through the empowerment of our community of producers. Our cooperative members are paid over four times the market value for their product, and we are now the largest privately owned employer in Togo, giving women the opportunity to provide for their families and giving their children the opportunity of an education. In addition to fair trade wages, our cooperative members receive health care, and one month paid vacation each year.
"Today the buying process is organized and everyone gets their whole payment at once. I thank you and I plead you to continue your support in our village in order to reduce poverty." -Amama Amadou, president of the Bowouda Shea Nut Collective.

 World Fair Trade day is a reminder of how connected we are, and how great a difference we can make through simple, daily choices. Choices like supporting the farmers of Divine Chocolate; the only fair trade chocolate company owned by its farmers. Not only are these farmers receiving a fair wage and money to invest back into their communities, but they also have a share in the company, and perhaps most importantly, an active voice in the cocoa industry which remains one of the top ranked for exploitative wages and child labor. (The divine farmers are on a United States tour right now and they may be visiting a city near you! Fair trade gives us the opportunity to be pioneers for change in an ever globalizing climate. The basic human rights of health, equality, and education can become a reality through the support of true fair trade.

The happy faces of a few of Alaffia's Bikes for Education recipients. Girls who are provided a bike are able to reverse a 94% dropout rate to a 98% retention rate.
Above all, World Fair Trade Day is a day filled with gratitude for all of you who support us and give us the opportunity to go BEYOND Fair Trade. Because you stand with our mission, our co-ops now support over 500 women and their families. This year 1,000 mothers and babies will receive pre and post natal care through our Maternal Health Program. At least 600 Togolese students will have transportation to school this year, and 10,000 trees will be planted to combat deforestation. We could not accomplish this alone. The daily choices we all make can positively impact lives around the world. Perhaps the biggest takeaway of this celebration of fair trade is the recognition of how interconnected we really are, and the reality that we need an international community in order to thrive.

In reality, every day is World Fair Trade day. Alaffia!

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