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Fair Trade, Eco and Ethical


News from our supplier Karm Marg in India

We'd like to share with you a newsletter from our supplier Karm Marg in India. Karm Marg provides a safe refuge for children, a family-like atmosphere and opportunities for education, skill development and employment.

"At the end of March 20 as Covid Cases started to be reported in India, the Indian Government ordered a complete lockdown on movement giving people a 4 hours notice only. For us this meant that we had to quickly ensure that our children had enough food, medicines and systems in place that would keep them healthy and safe. Luckily we had a stock of grains and other dry rations combined with our own fresh vegetables so that we did not have to buy food from outside for the first two months.

The lockdown also meant that our staff could not come to work and since then we have been managing with very little staff. It has been a challenge to keep all the children engaged and busy. Things run smoothly for a while, the moment a problem arises all our resources are severely stretched. School are shut and we do not know when the schools will open or when they open will be it at all be safe to send the children to school..."
Created On  24 Sep 2020 18:20 in Coronavirus  -  >>
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Money raised for Covid-19 relief in India, Kenya and Uganda

We are delighted to announce that you, our supporters, have helped us raise these sums from the Just Giving sites on our websites:

India - £6,335 including £2,400 donation from Shared Earth (target £5,000)

Kenya and Uganda - £3,079 (target £2,500)

Thank you everyone who helped us to reach our targets!

Created On  18 Sep 2020 14:50 in Coronavirus  -  >>
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South Africa (Nobunto)

As the infection rate rises again in the UK, we are going to try to update you on news about how Covid-19 is affecting our suppliers around the world. We’re starting with a new supplier – whose products won’t be arriving with us until December or possible after Christmas – but who are delighted to have received our orders to help them out at a time when orders for them are few and far between.

Nobunto Candles is a WFTO member in the rural and picturesque village of Napier, 180km east of Capetown, producing handmade and painted candles with distinctly African styles. This year should have been a happy one for them, as it marks their tenth anniversary; their first candle was handpainted on 3rd May, 2010. Unfortunately the lockdown meant they had to close down for 9 weeks and like most small producers in the southern hemisphere, they don’t have large reserves to bridge such a long period of time without production and income. Compared to Europe, government support in South Africa is rare, and there’s little in the way of social security.

Created On  14 Sep 2020 19:35 in Coronavirus  -  >>
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Update on East Africa

Thank you so much to everyone who has donated or helped share our fundraising campaign

The Zuri Foundation and Shared Earth have now raised over £2000, with an additional £1,000 promised by York Society of Friends (Quakers). This has helped many people in East Africa who are struggling to survive and stay safe during COVID-19 lockdowns.

Created On  23 Jul 2020 16:30 in Coronavirus  -  >>
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India Update

These are the most challenging times in the working history of many of our suppliers in India; for almost 3 months, production and sales have been virtually at a halt. There is little or no government subsidy for those without work and of course no furlough scheme and our suppliers are doing whatever they can to provide food aid and other help.

The situation is grim in India at present. The lockdown has been relaxed, which it had to be for economic reasons, but this has resulted in a surge of cases and deaths in Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and in many other cities. The virus is now in every neighborhood, especially in the bigger cities, due to the dense populations there. Many neighborhoods are now containment zones, with new cases emerging each day. In Delhi there are more than 445 Covid-19 ‘hotspots’ where movement is strictly restricted. In total India has had more than 79,000 cases and around 22,000 people have died. Testing has increased, but is still far from sufficient.

Created On  13 Jul 2020 13:25 in Coronavirus  -  >>
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Shared Earth Update

Shared Earth’s shops in York and Liverpool have now been open for nearly 3 weeks, and whilst the high street is quiet, it’s gradually getting better and we’re making enough money to pay our staff… just! Although some of our retail staff are still on furlough. Our Liverpool shop is doing well with mainly locals who are delighted to find us open again. York is not so good as we rely so much on tourists. We are selling hundreds of masks and have nearly 40,000 more on order from our Fair Trade suppliers in Sri Lanka – including a great rainbow design. For the discerning customer, who is of course passionate about the environment, we have special masks (already in stock) embroidered with the words ‘Protect Ourselves… Protect our Planet’.

Created On  6 Jul 2020 10:55 in Coronavirus  -  >>
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Nandini dies in New Delhi

Nandini, one of the 12 year old sponsorship children of our supplier Tara Project’s education project, died two days ago, not from the Coronavirus, but because of the pressure on the health system in India. Koko from Tara writes:

It is still difficult to believe that she is no more with us. Due to strict lockdown, it was very difficult for her parents to take her to hospital on time. When her fever increased somehow with the help of one of our volunteers she was taken to a government hospital. Unfortunately she was not attended seriously by the attendant doctors there as they were too busy with so many other patients. They just gave her some tablets and sent her back. She was not admitted in the hospital, also as many wards of the hospitals had been converted to corona specific. Not only Nandini but hundreds of sick people are being deprived of the ordinary treatment due to the pandemic. The hospitals just have no capacity. It shows how unjust and a weak health infrastructure we have in the country. Hospitals are charging exorbitant fees and it has become difficult for many sick people to get admission.

In response to this, Tara has opened a Health Centre in the Badapur community in New Delhi. This is at great risk to the doctors and other volunteers involved, because although they have proper PPE equipment, many patients coming to the centre have tuberculosis and fever. Most other hospitals are not treating many ordinary patients, afraid they might have Coronavirus. Tara finds this situation alarming, but they and their staff are completely committed.
Created On  4 Jun 2020 11:35 in Coronavirus  -  >>
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Fair Trade ‘Peoples Mask’ almost sold out within 24 hours!

Our first order of the ‘Peoples Mask’, which arrived two days ago, sold out almost straight away – of 6 codes, 5 sold through completely, some of them much oversubscribed. Another shipment will be made next week. They are made by a WFTO member in Sri Lanka who are delighted that they are able to provide their artisans with work, which they can completed at home, during the lockdown.

As sorting the masks into separate colours would have meant a 2 week delay, we are now selling them as ‘assorted colours’ under codes MASK06 (medium) and MASK07 (large).

For legal reasons, we will now be referring to them as ‘face coverings’ instead of masks, the latter term involving a lengthy and costly process of testing. The product is the same, the wording different! Such is bureaucracy.
Created On  22 May 2020 15:13 in Coronavirus  -  >>
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Bangladesh – famine predicted

The Coronavirus is having terrible effects in some of the poorest parts of the world. In Bangladesh, masses of textile workers have been laid off as 50-75% of factories supplying the world’s fashion industry have closed due to the lockdown. Large retailers have cancelled huge numbers of orders, even those which have been completed and are ready for shipping. Unfortunately the suppliers have no way of holding their customers accountable, and in turn often try to pass the loss on to their workers.

Our suppliers in Bangladesh, Jute Works and Prokritee, both WFTO members, have orders outstanding with us, and our large customer Oxfam has agreed to help out with pre-payments so the orders can go ahead, even if they arrive late because of the crisis. This is a great example of customers and suppliers in the Fair Trade community working together to ensure that as little harm to producers takes place as possible. Prokritee reports that none of their customers have cancelled their orders, and many of their artisans are working at home, praying to God that the crisis will end soon, but glad that at least they have work. Prokritee is distributing Hardship Grant packages including masks, soap and cash, for any of their artisans who are unable to work.
Created On  18 May 2020 18:50 in Coronavirus  -  >>
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Caught by the lockdown in Bolivia + new glass supplier

World Fair Trade Day is a world celebration and whilst the news in Britain concentrates on how Covid-19 affects us all here, we’d like to focus on what’s happening overseas, both on the struggles and the successes, the good and the bad. As fair traders, we are part of a global community; this is a difficult time, and we are all trying to help one another out if we can.

So first, a big well done to Moon and all the staff at Tara Projects, New Delhi. Three days ago they announced that they have now distributed 600 food kits to the most vulnerable people in Delhi’s poorest areas – enough to feed about 3,000 people for the next month. Delhi is in complete lockdown, and with no social security to rely on, thousands of people are starving because they are unable to earn any money at the moment.
Created On  13 May 2020 11:05 in Coronavirus  -  >>
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