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Fair Trade Friends Working Together

As we have been so busy during the summer (see our last post Out and About With Fair and Fabulous) we haven’t had time to tell you much about achieving our BAFTS membership, or about our new project working with Fair Trade chums – Liz Beasley from Ananuca and Martha Musonza Holman and Dave Holman from Love Zimbabwe.

Over the years we have met some amazing, passionate people within the Fair Trade world. Liz, Martha and Dave are such people. We are all committed campaigners for Fair Trade and are also keen to promote our businesses. If we are successful then the people who make our products will be able to realise an income to support their families too. We met through trading at fairs and events and as we at Fair and Fabulous have a physical shop we thought it would be a great idea to collaborate, offering products from three continents in our upstairs showroom.

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Liz moved her beautiful hand made Chilean textiles in to the shop in July. When I first saw Liz’s stall at the Wales Fair Trade Fair (which Martha and Dave organise) about 6 years ago, I was gobsmacked by the quality and wonderful muted colours of the shawls, rugs and cushions. On her annual trips to Chile Liz, a language graduate with an MA in Latin American Studies, buys work only of the highest quality, crafted using traditional techniques. Colour is all, and many of the textile products are dyed using natural plant extracts, reproducing the rich colour palette of the landscape and the season in which they are created.

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I first met Martha and Dave at a not very successful event over 10 years ago. As I recall I only took £4.00 and I provided Martha and Dave with their only sale, £40’s worth of Zimbabwean bags for my business BagAge. But while we weren’t being overrun with customers we had plenty of time to forge a friendship! Martha is a passionate campaigner and educator ably assisted by her husband Dave. They manage a Community Interest Company, Love Zimbabwe Fair Trade which feeds into the Love Zimbabwe Charity. The Charity supports Chinamhora Community in Martha’s native Zimbabwe, check out this film to see what they have achieved.

Martha and Dave import an impressive variety of  Zimbabwean crafts which they source directly from Zimbabwean artists and craft workers. This summer they have brought some of those products to Fair and Fabulous. These include vibrant batik wall hangings and table cloths from a project that Martha set up in Marondera in 2001, metal bird sculptures made by Chikonamombe and his brother based in Mbare, the ‘east end’ of Harare and  basket work which is done by Thabeth Kunze based near Mashvingo. Thabeth lives in a very remote village which takes two hours to get to from the main road. She is a single mother with three small children. Her husband died from an Aids related disease in 2005. The basket work, along with a small maize crop that she plants every year, keeps Thabeth and her family going.

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So our upstairs room is now crammed with beautiful textiles and home ware from Chile, Zimbabwe, India and Thailand representing three continents of South America, Africa and Asia. A cosmopolitan, Fair Trade cornucopia!

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And what’s BAFTS got to do with all this? Well we are very pleased and proud to now be a member of BAFTS, after the trials and tribulations of the application, and Ananuca and Love Zimbabwe are also BAFTS members, as Fair Trade suppliers as well as retailers. On Thursday 13th October we will be celebrating our achievement and our new collaborations. However we had a bit of advance merrymaking with our Fair Trade friends last Sunday at the Wales Fair Trade Fair, where we traded, partied and displayed our Fair Trade credentials to the world!

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