Fair Trade is a strategy for poverty alleviation and sustainable development. Members create social and economic opportunities through trading partnerships with marginalized producers. Members place the interests of producers and their communities as the primary concern of their enterprise.
In Bolivia, Greenola collaborates with sewing cooperatives, particularly cooperatives of indigenous women, to create fun, fashionable clothing.
The women are doubly disadvantaged. Bolivian society often undervalues the worth of women in the workplace and many of their 50+ artisan partners have faced a lifetime of racism and discrimination because of their Quechua heritage. Greenola also partners with immigrant communities in K’anchay, Bolivia who have been driven from their homes by drought and those in Piedras Negras, Mexico who were stranded when the plants operated by Levi’s and Dickies moved to Asia.
Greenola has helped the women organize and provided start-up loans and regular orders so that the women could improve their own lives, receive a living wage, and be connected to the global market. Socially, Greenola also facilitates opportunities for the women to manage, operate, and innovate within their cooperatives.
To learn more about Greenola, visit GreenolaStyle.com
Example: 108 Mala
When founder Aalap Shah was in India working with an HIV non-profit organization, he met impoverished women in the sex trade trying to make a living wage for their children. The women often had to face the difficult choice between asking their clients to use a condom or earning more money, as unprotected sex yields higher income. Aalap realized that if a woman could gain regular and gainful employment, she would never have to choose between her health and her income or her child’s education and putting food on the table.
108 Mala was founded in 2008 on the idea that the key to helping the 4 billion people who live on less that $2 a day get out of poverty is by helping them to become entrepreneurs and producers.
The company focuses on indigenous women in India who live in poor and rural areas and survive on just over a dollar a day. They help these women develop and produce handmade and eco-friendly jewelry, bedding and home accents and sell their products to gain an income. The company furthers this relationship by offering design support and introducing the women to green and eco-suppliers.
These women are also given micro-loans to use as they choose. Loans have been used to provide for their children’s education, food on the table, and livestock. This financial support fosters opportunity and growth for these women and encourages them to build a life without poverty.
To learn more about 108 Mala, visit www.108mala.com