by HANNAH DURBIN '19
Not too long ago, Mary Ann Roncker came to our school to sell handcrafted jewelry and accessories during lunch. She came to allow us to purchase items with equality in mind. The company allows for artists in developing countries not only to decide what they want to make, but also pays them fairly and provides good working conditions. Anything from bracelets to scarves was on display. She is a representative from Ten Thousand Villages which is located in O’Bryonville and Harper’s Point.
She came with lots of Christmas themed stocking stuffers, perfect for gift giving. The whole idea of fair trade shopping is not known to many people even though it ensures humane treatment for all. Our Catholic Social Teaching Action Team (CSTAT) had her come to help educate us on the importance of buying these goods. This is the second event that CSTAT has hosted this year, the first being a chocolate sale.
Some of the fair trade products sold.
The prices of the items varied between $8 and $10 and were made with natural, recycled materials. Each item has its own story, which adds more meaning to the holiday season. Instead of being mass manufactured in a factory, these goods are well crafted to withstand all the loving they’ll get. The handwoven baskets serve as the image of this company as they are directly associated with people and nature.
Another step our school will be taking to ensure equal treatment for all is instituting fair trade uniforms. The clothing industry is of particular interest for reform and is important because it frees people such as those in China who are locked into their manufacturing rooms. The workers are also often forced to live away from their families. It also allows for more creativity and diversity as nothing is exactly alike. The fair trade uniforms will be the only uniforms sold next year, while the old uniforms can still be worn.
As more people start to see all of the beautiful products that come from fair trade, it is starting to become more widely accepted. Grace Kruis ‘19 thought “everything in the sale was artfully crafted and good quality,” but had never heard of fair trade before the sale. Gracie Davis ’19 thinks, “it’s amazing that people are aware not all products are ethically made and are trying to do something about it.” Finally Emily Durbin ’20 said while she didn’t know much about fair trade beforehand, seeing all of the artfully made items really inspired her to learn more. Many students like what this movement is doing for women’s rights in particular and are glad that SUA is getting involved with companies like this.
Ten Thousand Villages: http://www.tenthousandvillages.com/about-mission/