We're all aware that May 13 is Mother's Day, a day when we shower our mothers with well-deserved gifts. But I'm guessing that hardly anyone is aware that May 12 is World Fair Trade Day, a day that focuses on fair pay and good working conditions for millions of workers in developing nations.
Why am I linking the two? Because World Fair Trade Day brings attention to mothers, too. But these are marginalized mothers in 3 rd -world countries who've been given the ability to lift themselves and their families out of devastating poverty.
Women make up 75% of non-agricultural fair trade employees. Instead of having no means of earning a living or working in sweatshop-type conditions, they work under shade trees in Africa, in the village squares of Central America, and in sunny workplaces in Southeast Asia. Many work from their homes, so they're able to tend to their children while earning money to feed them. They're paid 3-5 times more than the average in their local economies and receive health care and vocational training.
These mothers have survived ravaging drought, human trafficking, child marriages, and abusive family relationships. The economic power they gain from earning a living wage provides them independence and a voice in their own lives for the first time.
They handcraft gorgeous jewelry, contemporary handbags, elegant silk scarves, colorful linens and even luxurious soaps and lotions. In other words, all the types of products that we enjoy giving on Mother's Day. By remembering your Mom with fair trade products, you not only support our local economy but also support these other inspiring mothers around the world.
There's one other mother that is honored in this way as well: Mother Earth. Beautifully designed fair trade products are always sustainably produced, and many are created from organic, recycled, or repurposed materials.
So on this and all Mother's Days, give a fair trade gift and share your love for Mom with mothers around the world.
By Stephanie King,
Fair Trade Designs