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Fair trade is an organized social movement which promotes standards for international labor, environmentalism, and social policy in areas related to production of Fairtrade labeled and unlabeled goods. The movement focuses in particular on exports from developing countries to developed countries.

Fair trade's strategic intent is to deliberately work with marginalised producers and workers in order to help them move from a position of vulnerability to security and economic self-sufficiency. It also aims at empowering them to become stakeholders in their own organizations and actively play a wider role in the global arena to achieve greater equity in international trade.

Fair trade proponents include a wide array of international religious, development aid, social and environmental organizations such as Oxfam, Amnesty International, and Caritas International.

As have most developmental efforts, fair trade has proved itself controversial and has drawn criticism from both ends of the political spectrum. Some economists and conservative think tanks see fair trade as a type of subsidy that impedes growth. Segments of the left criticize fair trade for not adequately challenging the current trading system.

In 2006, Fairtrade certified sales amounted to approximately €1.6 billion worldwide, a 41% year-to-year increase. While this represents less than one hundredth of a percentage point of world trade in physical merchandise, fair trade products generally account for 0.5-5% of all sales in their product categories in Europe and North America. In October 2006, over 1.5 million disadvantaged producers worldwide were directly benefiting from fair trade while an additional 5 million benefited from fair trade funded infrastructure and community development projects.
Definition taken from Wikipedia

Here's a quick synopsis of some of the co-operatives that we carry:

Market Place
The Market Place is a women's relief organization located in the slums of Mumbai. It gives women marketing skills and creative outlets to allow them independence.

Mitra Bali
Foundation was formed in 1993 to provide marketing and export assistance to 15 family workshops of handcrafts.

Mai Handcrafts
Two social workers concerned with making the lives better for children and single mothers in Ho Chi Minh City has assisted in areas such as quality control, marketing, and export procedures. There are now 300 artisans working with Mai Handcrafts.

South India Producers Association
SIPA serves more than 30 artisan groups, with almost 10,000 crafters in Southern India. SIPA works along side Bethany Colony, which was started by a british nurse who helped recovering leprosy patients. SIPA provides the wives of leprosy patients with a way to provide income for thier families.

Asha Handicrafts
Asha means 'hope,' and that's just what a group of Christian businessmen in 1975 wanted to provide. Representing 800 artisans ASHA Provides extending medical care and educational assistance, supples schools with uniforms and books, as well as interest-free loans, and advances to purchase raw materials.

Dominion Traders
Beautiful stone and shesham wood crafts are made by individuals in the city of Karachi. Dominion Traders provide them with the means to make an honest living doing it. Most notably Dominion Traders employ's people of different religions and creeds, opening eyes as they work together in a friendly and cordial relationship.

MCC Burkino Faso
The Mennonite Central Committee in West Africa who work with 400 artisans around Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso.

Starting as a mission project in the early 60's Presraft has grown to provide 4 goals to the people in the NorthWest province of Cameroon. 1) to provide employment. 2)Gradually move peasants from rural areas to the cities. 3) To preserve traditional crafts. 4) And finally, to instill a sense of confidence in the craftsmen.

NAWOU is the National Association of Women's Organizations in Uganda. The goals of the organization are 1) to co-ordinate networking between women's groups. @) Bring women together to deal with issues of common concern. 3) Technical assistance to achieve goals. 4) Make resources available that will help women achieve their goals. 5) Lobby the government of issues affecting women.

Bombolulu Workshop for Handicapped
Starting in 1969 the workshop was originally a rehabilitation project in Mombasa (located near the Indian Ocean.) Now 200 men and women make fair wages while making jewelry and baskets.

Unidos Para Una Vida Mejor or United for a Better Life is a craft marketing program which was created to help provide funds for a children's clinic in La Esperanza (located near Guatemala City.) Because of Upavim, the clinic now offers lab testing, dental care, tuition, and school supplies. Products include doll necklaces, wreaths, and other products made using handwoven Guatemalan fabrics.

Manos Amigas S.A.
"Hands of friendship" is a non-profit program to help provide funds for a breakfast program for children in Lina. 15 artisans work with Manos Amigas and design wool tapestries, ceramic nativities, vases, jewelry, coasters, and mirrors.

Fundacion Solidaridad Talleres Artesanales
The Solidarity Foundation was established in the late 70's. It helps to provide support to the families of some of the thousands of political prisoners of the Chilean army.

Shepherd's Field Factories
Palestinian artisans have been producing religious items for centuries. Because of the decrease in tourism to Christian holy sites has had a disastrous impact on the income of olivewod carvers. Shepherd's Field was set up to help these artisans market thier products.

Jirmit Papyrus Group
Young Christians living in Mallawi (Egypt) are given employment opportunities which are typically hard to find. Jirmit Papyrus makes hand-painted cards, bookmarks, and other art on pyrus.

Kuapa KoKoo
Established in 1993 Kuapa Kokoo of a government policy, and is a cocoa farmers co-operative organization.

Women's Bean Project
Women's Bean Project was founded in 1989, and helps women break the cycle of poverty and unemployment. They teach workplace competecies for entry-level jobs through employment and by teaching job readiness and life skills. WBP is located in Denver, Colorado.

Randy Miller
Hailing from New Hampsire, Randy is a self-taught wood engraver. His art has shown up on the 2000 edition of the Farmer's Almanac.

Dean's Beans
From 11 countries Dean's Beans proudly produces Fair Trade Coffee. Dean's Beans is based in MA.

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