Friday, January 17, 2014

Ten Thousand Villages and Elephant Poop

My daughter and her friend on our trip to Ten Thousand Villages store in Austin earlier this month

Today, I am featuring Ten Thousand Villages, a fair trade retailer with stores all over, including AustinI went there for the first time around New Year's, and the fact that I am sharing about this enjoyable shopping experience is more incredible that you can imagine because I hate shopping! 

But this place is about more than shopping. It is about a cause, which they put front and center. It is about a story, or more precisely, many stories. Stories of real lives affected by their business.

It was not merely a shopping experience, but a learning and giving experience.

Wow! You can get a deal on everything here!

My daughter's favorite part was learning about the paper products that are made from elephant poop! 

Did you know that elephants poop about 16 times a day?! See, that is just one of the life-changing facts we learned while in the store! I tried to move on to more serious lessons, but my middle school daughter was kind of stuck on this one. Okay, me too, a little.

Poop to paper process

The whole world of fair trade markets is still new to me. I am grateful to Allies for inviting Becca to share with ordinary people like me about the concept of fair trade and the mission of organizations like Ten Thousand Villages.

These non-profits alter the lives of individuals and slowly make systemic changes to the international marketplace.
All this work requires countless hours of donated time because stores like this one are completely volunteer-run.

Here is the blurb about Ten Thousand Villages from their website:

Ten Thousand Villages is an exceptional source for unique handmade gifts, jewelry, home decor, art and sculpture, textiles, serveware and personal accessories representing the diverse cultures of artisans in Asia, Africa, Latin America and the Middle East. One of the world's largest fair trade organizations and a founding member of the World Fair Trade Organization (WFTO), the company strives to improve the livelihood of tens of thousands of disadvantaged artisans in 38 countries. Ten Thousand Villages accomplishes this by establishing a sustainable market for handmade products in North America, and building long term buying relationships in places where skilled artisan partners lack opportunities for stable income. Product sales help pay for food, education, healthcare and housing for artisans who would otherwise be unemployed or underemployed.

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