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The Sou'wester

A different kind of business

May 10 is World Fair Trade Day

Gwen Repeta with some hand-made soaps offered at Ten Thousand Villages.

JORDAN THOMPSON

Gwen Repeta with some hand-made soaps offered at Ten Thousand Villages.

On Sat., May 10, the world will celebrate World Fair Trade Day and a different way of doing business with producers around the world.

 Gwen Repeta, Western Canada rug co-ordinator and store manager of Ten Thousand Villages in Fort Garry, located at 134 Plaza Dr., said World Fair Trade Day has been around for many years.

Gwen Repeta (right) and Janis Harms, a volunteer at Ten Thousand Villages.

JORDAN THOMPSON

Gwen Repeta (right) and Janis Harms, a volunteer at Ten Thousand Villages.

Gwen Repeta (right) and Esther Tchando, who works at Ten Thousand Villages after immigrating to Winnipeg from Benin in West Africa.

JORDAN THOMPSON

Gwen Repeta (right) and Esther Tchando, who works at Ten Thousand Villages after immigrating to Winnipeg from Benin in West Africa.

"It’s a way to draw attention to fair trade," Repeta said. "It’s a way for people to learn a little more about it, why it’s important, how it affects people, who are the people that are involved in it, how it changes people’s lives."

The theme for World Fair Trade Day 2014 is Fair Trade People.

"It’s been chosen to celebrate the people of fair trade," Repeta said. "They are the producers and the consumers."

Repeta said fair trade is a different way of doing business, putting the producer or artisan first.
"It’s so they can support their family," Repeta said. "It means that mom and dad are working so that the kids can go to school, so they have a roof over their heads, they can get clean drinking water, that they can go to the doctor.

"So they have all the basic necessities of life."

Though donating money can be beneficial during natural disasters, buying fair trade products is a way to help in the long-term.

"So we donate money to help them, but we won’t support so they have a viable life," Repeta said. "So when you are purchasing fair trade this is what you are doing. You’re paying the right working or living wage to these people, and then maybe they won’t need charity anymore. It’s a big circle."

Repeta said the fair-trade model is all about eliminating as many people between the consumer and the producer as possible. To start shopping with fair trade in mind, Repeta recommends to start right at the grocery store.

"Most people drink coffee, that would be a simple way to start," Repeta said. "Most of the grocery stores are offering at least one fair-trade certified coffee. So that’s a great way to start."

For those who don’t drink tea or coffee, like Repeta, she recommends finding her favourite: fair trade chocolate.

"Most people when you ask them, ‘Do you believe in child slave labour?’ they will say ‘No,’" Repeta said. "But then every time you’re buying a chocolate bar, that’s not fair trade. There’s 50,000 kids that are sold into slave labour every year and they are cutting down the cocoa pods."

To celebrate World Fair Trade Day, the Fort Garry Ten Thousand Villages location will be hosting a number of events on May 10. There will be upcycling crafts, baking, story time, henna, belly dancers, classical Indian dancers, and more throughout the day.

For more information on the event, drop by the store or call Repeta at 204-261-0566.

 

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