Purchase Power - Fair Trade's Innovative Approach to Solving the Orphan Crisis

What does Fair Trade mean?

Fairtrade is the most recognized and trusted sustainability label in the world. It is a global organization that is co-owned by more than 1.8 million farmers, handicraft creators, and workers who subsequently earn fairer prices, build stronger communities, have control over their future, and provide for their families.

Fairtrade is a trading partnership that seeks greater equity in trade. Fairtrade changes the way trade works, through better prices, decent working conditions and a fairer deal for farmers and workers in developing countries. Operating a profitable business allows growers to think about their future, rather than worrying about how they are going to survive in poverty. The Fairtrade movement focuses in particular on commodities, or products that are typically exported from developing countries to developed countries. Fairtrade’s labeling certification system is designed to allow consumers to identify goods that meet agreed standards. A product with the Fairtrade mark means that producers and businesses have met internationally agreed upon standards that have been independently certified. At present, the certification mark is used in over 50 countries and on dozens of different products.

These standards include adherence to agreements such as those banning child and slave labor, guaranteeing a safe workplace and the right to unionize, adherence to the United Nations charter of human rights, a fair price that covers the cost of production and facilitates social development, and protection and conservation of the environment. Fairtrade certified commodities must adhere to sustainable agro-ecological practices, including reduction of chemical fertilizer use, prevention of erosion, and protection of forests. This protects the biodiversity of the ecosystem and ensures that the land will be usable for farming in the future.

How does Fair Trade affect institutions such as God’s Littlest Angels?

Many Haitian orphans are not parentless – there is usually one parent, but often that parent is poverty-stricken or homeless (or both) and cannot care for the child. With an unemployment rate of well over 60%, these parents have little opportunity to provide for their children’s well-being. Children born into poverty like this will find their environment hard to overcome. Even education in Haiti is difficult – most schools cost money to attend. Fair trade makes it possible for families to pursue education, and to climb out of the morass of poverty. The stronger the family situation becomes the less support is needed from outside agencies.

What can you do to help?

By choosing fair trade, people can create change through their everyday actions. To contribute to the fair trade effort, do business with those companies offering products with the Fair Trade Certification. Some examples in Haiti are Singing Rooster (coffee, chocolate, art), Petite Palm (unique handmade goods), 2nd Story Goods (leather works), Rosie’s Boutique (hand stitched cards) among others.
Organizations such as God’s Littlest Angels are grateful for your financial contributions. And old-fashioned word-of-mouth does wonders by sharing the stories of these groups and their reliance on Fair trade.

Shop Haiti! Invest in Haiti and families by shopping for hand-crafted, one-of-a-kind goods and delicious food stuffs. Consumers typically have positive attitudes for products that are ethically made.
Follow these groups on their social channels (Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter) and share posts with your friends and family.

Pray for the continued work of these nonprofit organizations and their friends and partners and pray for peace and justice in Haiti.

Fairtrade makes it possible for families to pursue education, and to climb out of the morass of poverty. The stronger the family situation becomes the less support is needed from outside agencies.

*All photos/pictures are property of their respective organizations.

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