PICTOU – Pictou United Church has been converted into a fair trade marketplace, but only until 4 p.m. on Saturday.
Ten Thousand Villages returned for its 14th year at the church.
“It promotes fair trade and fair wages,” said local co-ordinator Vee Reich.
The organization creates long-term partnerships with artisans in developing countries that allow them to earn fair incomes while selling their products in different areas of the world.
It’s a non-profit project with Mennonite Central Committee, the relief and development portion of Mennonite and Brethren in Christ churches in North America.
A few of the products available at Pictou’s sale include hand-woven baskets, bowls and frames made from recycled newspaper, stone candle holders, scarfs, jewelry, soaps and other goods.
None of the money collected from the sale of the items goes to the Pictou United Church; it all goes back into the organization and the hands of the artisans.
They receive half of a previously agreed-upon wage before they start their work and the rest after Ten Thousand Villages receive their work.
Receiving half beforehand allows them to be able to afford their supplies. Their wages are based on a number of factors, including their costs and how long it takes to make their items.
The items that don’t sell at sales such as Pictou’s are returned to a warehouse and shipped out for others.
“We heard about it… it seemed like a good fit,” said Rev. Mary-Beth Moriarity about why they got involved with the organization.
For some of the artisans, this organization is the only way they can earn a living.
A women’s group in Uganda makes some of the baskets and their livelihood completely depends on Ten Thousand Villages.
Many of the women have AIDS and are unable to get work outside their village, said Patricia Strunk, one of the volunteers with the group.
The items for sale are always changing in accordance with trends.
“As our tastes change, they work with the artisans,” Strunk said, adding that this could just mean adapting a product to be in a different colour.
The sale runs from 6 p.m. until 8 p.m. on Friday and 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. on Saturday at the Pictou United Church on the corner of James and Faulkland streets.
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