With the 24-hour news cycle nowadays it’s hard to turn a blind eye to the fact that people all over the world are suffering. I see the news stories about a famine here, and a flood there, and poverty everywhere. And I think, what can I do?
I don’t have a lot of money to make grand gestures or give to charity. I wish I did because there are many, many worthy organizations out there doing all they can to help people and they could use support. I mean, I do what I can when I can. I just don’t always know if it’s truly helpful – know what I mean?
A few months ago I started seeing posts about something called Fair Trade Friday Club popping up on my social media. I didn’t know what it was. I thought maybe people made a point of purchasing fair trade goods and wearing them on Fridays. But it was (and is) so much more than that. The Fair Trade Friday Club is all about empowering women who live in extreme poverty by enabling them to work as artisans and earn a fair wage.
But the artisans aren’t the only ones who benefit. Fair Trade Friday Club was born in order to help support Mercy House Kenya, an organization established to help young women who have become pregnant as a result of rape or forced prostitution. Mercy House provides a safe place to live in addition to education and health care for these mothers. As the mother of three daughters myself, I have a soft spot for Mercy House and the good work they do there.
And let’s just talk about how much fun it is to open the box and examine the lovely items, all of which are well made and carry a story.
Take this beautiful pouch, for instance. On the tag are the names of three women who contributed to its creation. Three women I can now pray for by name used their skills to make this bag and were paid fairly for their work, which enables them to support their families.
Or these beaded bracelets. Oh my word! My box came with two of these lovelies and although I don’t normally wear a lot of jewelry I can already tell I’m going to be wearing these with everything. These were made by someone in Nepal and they are simply exquisite. The photo does not do them justice. I can’t decide whether to wear them both or to keep one and give one away.
And this journal. Y’all, it’s so pretty I’m not sure I can bring myself to write in it. The pages are creamy, unlined, and textured, and the cover is a sunset orange/gold with a silver print and somewhere in India are the hands that made it. Every time I use it I will be reminded to pray for the artisans who produced this beauty.
If you love these items and you want to be a part of the great work being done by Fair Trade Friday Club and Mercy House Kenya, it’s easy to get involved. Go to Fair Trade Friday Club and sign up to receive your very own box of awesome every month. (If you sign up and find that next month’s boxes are all claimed, please sign up for the waiting list.) If your budget won’t support the cost of an entire box every month, consider signing up for the Earring of the Month club. Or if you’d like to try it out to see if it’s for you, you can order a one-time box. You can also go to the Mercy House Shop and order some of the individual items that tickle your fancy. To me (and maybe to you too) the cost of a box, or a pair of earrings, or a scarf might be a small thing. But to someone on the other side of the world that small thing matters.
It also turns out that we can tackle poverty, one month at a time, one box at a time, and look good while doing it. I call that a win-win.